How To Drink Oral Contrast For CT Scan?

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How To Drink Oral Contrast For CT Scan?

How To Drink Oral Contrast For CT Scan?

Hi. Did your doctor prescribe a CT scan, and while scheduling your appointment, the diagnostic center asked you to drink an oral contrast before coming for the test? Since then, your mind is plausible to get clouded with a prominent question – how to drink an oral contrast for a CT scan?

Good News! That’s exactly why I am here; to assist you in finding your answer down the note.

How Does A Contrast Material Serve In A CT Scan?

A CT or Computed Tomography scan, the one doctors use to map your internal anatomical structures and functions, is a non-invasive test that involves the use of iodine or barium-based contrast dye or tracers in low percentage to ensure image clarity.

Yes. This is more when your doctors need to see deeper organs and tissues!

The contrast material is radioopaque and can serve to diagnose areas of inflammation in your body, their characteristics and extent, tumor growth, and blood vessel linings.

The contrast helps your doctor differentiate between diverse organs and tissues with similar densities. It can highlight your gastrointestinal tract, spleen, liver, pancreas, urinary system, and so forth!

Besides, contrast-enhanced CTs are very accurate in the characterization of the disease. By this, I mean; the tracer administration into your body can help your healthcare providers determine whether the abnormal mass appearing in the CT images is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), whether a bacterial infection or other lesions.

The contrast dye also makes it easier to study blood flow to certain areas of the body and locate blockages by clots, cysts, or narrowing of the blood vessels. Radioactive tracers get more relevant, in this regard, for angiographies, where the tracer gets administered directly into the specific blood vessels. Doctors use this approach for diagnosing vascular conditions like arterial stenosis or aneurysms.

When and Why Do Healthcare Providers Use Oral Contrast Instead Of Intravenous One?

As you can already understand, a contrast administration for a CT scan takes place in two ways, first, oral and second, intravenous.

While doctors tend to use an intravenous approach to trace brain, liver, or kidney diseases and vascular problems and check organs outside the digestive system, an oral contrast works better for the gastrointestinal tract and many other abdominal and pelvic organs, muscles, and tissues.


You must be wondering why oral contrast gets preferred in most CT cases!  Well, that has some significant grounds, as you predict.

Your body can tolerate an oral contrast better than an intravenous one. Neither do you need to fear the injection needle going inside your skin! Nor do you have to witness side effects like swelling, redness, or rashes around the intervention site. Perhaps, the patient’s comfort and safety are on point!

Besides, oral contrasts are more cost-effective than intravenous ones! In better words, they are less expensive.

[Please Note: Sometimes, your healthcare provider may use both for comprehensive assessment, depending on the definite clinical situation and diagnostic objectives of the CT.]

How To Drink Oral Contrast For CT Scan?

Here I bring some general guidelines on how to drink oral contrast for a CT scan. Do not hesitate to discover them!


You need to stick to the timing instructions given to you by the radiology center. They may ask you to consume the oral contrast a certain amount of time before your scheduled CT scan, typically ranging from 1 to 2 hours.


You must recheck the oral contrast you have. It’s typically water-soluble, i.e., a liquid, and has a similar consistency to a milkshake. Also, make sure the oral contrast solution you are to have is prescribed by your doctor or provided by the diagnostic center.


Then, you must check whether there are any temperature requirements for the oral contrast solution. Sometimes the healthcare providers ask you to keep the contrast chilled or warmed to a specific temperature for your better taste and comfort. Following the instructions herein is certain to serve you.


Many a time, the healthcare provider may instruct you to mix the oral contrast with water or another fluid, as they may provide you with both. You have to follow it. Moreover, you can also read the instructions carefully given with the solution to determine whether any dilution is necessary.


The iodine-based oral contrast has a distinct taste that people often find unpleasant. Thus, if you receive so, you can ask your healthcare providers whether to try chilling the solution or using a straw that may help bypass the taste buds; located at the front of your mouth. You may even ask your healthcare providers to give barium-based contrasts! It is because they come in various flavors, such as lemon or strawberry, to improve the taste. Whatever your call is, you need approval from the healthcare providers.


Next, when you are about to drink the oral contrast, do; have an eye on the specified volume and pace of consumption. Indeed, it’s vital for you to drink the entire amount as recommended. Taking small sips or mouthfuls instead of gulping it all down; at once is likely to serve better for the dissolution of the contrast in your bloodstream.


Last but not least, while you’re done drinking the oral contrast, see if there are any additional instructions and comply with them. By this, I mean; sometimes, your healthcare providers may ask you to fast before the CT scan from when you have taken the contrast, and this may even include water consumption, certain medication intake, etc.

Bottom Line:

Please remember; these instructions are general in nature, and it’s salient for you to constantly stay in touch with your healthcare providers and ask them about the specificities. Whenever you have concerns or doubts regarding the intake of oral contrast for a CT scan, they are and should be your first point of contact.

For more about your CT scan, stay in touch with

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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