CT scanning is an ideal way to evaluate the abdomen, both for non-specific complaints (“abdominal pain”), as well as for directed, organ specific studies.
For non-specific complaints, oral and IV contrast are necessary. Most inflammatory/infectious conditions will be easily detected, including appendicitis, cholelithiasis, diverticulitis, and a host of other conditions. CT scanning offers an unsurpassed overview of abdominal anatomy and pathology.
In addition, the retroperitoneum, the space behind the cavity which contains the bowel, and which itself contains the kidneys, pancreas, and other organs, is ideally imaged with CT.
CT scanning is the modality of choice in evaluating abdominal trauma, which may result in vascular injuries, as well as lacerations of solid organs (liver, spleen, kidneys). IV contrast should be used in the setting of trauma.