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CT Enterogram - Benefits and Risks


  • CT imaging is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
  • Compared to other imaging procedures of the small intestine, CT enterogram is able to visualize the entire thickness of the bowel wall due to the bowel distension from the oral contast. In addition, CT enterogram is can also evaluate surrounding soft tissues. The other examinations, some of which are invasive, are only able to image the inner lining of the small intestine.
  • CT enterogram may eliminate the need for video capsule endoscopy (VCE) and the potential complications of that procedure.
  • CT enterogram allows other organs in the abdomen to be seen, not just the bowel.
  • CT is less adversely affected by patient motion compared to MRI.
  • CT can be performed if you have an implanted medical device such as a pacemaker, unlike MRI. Advancements in CT technology now allow CT enterogram to be performed with even lower radiation doses.
  • Although CT images are acquired with radiation, no radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
  • X-rays used in standard CT exams have no immediate side effects.


  • CT is performed with X rays (radiation). As exposure to radiation increases, there is an increased risk of developing cancer. The exact risk of developing cancer from a single CT is not known, though from other data obtained from much higher radiation exposure (survivors of the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima in World War II), the expected risk from a single CT is expected to be minimal. While radiation exposure from a single CT is very small, we always recommend limiting exposure to radiation whenever possible and perform our exams with the least amount of radiation that we can. When it is felt that the information that may be obtained from CT is important to help treat a patient’s illness, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis is felt to outweigh the very small risk. If you have a question if there is alternative ways of diagnosing a problem that do not involve radiation, for instance if MRI or ultrasound could be alternatively used, please ask your doctor or talk to one of our radiologists.
  • Women should always inform their radiologist or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. In general, CT imaging is not recommended for pregnant women. However, a CT may be medically necessary in a pregnant patient, when the risk to the patient and her baby is greater from the patient’s illness than the potential risk of the radiation from the exam.
  • The risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine is rare, however, our radiology departments are well equipped to deal with such adverse reactions. You should inform your radiologist of all medications you are taking and of any allergies. It is especially important to make sure we are aware if you have had a prior bad reaction to intravenous contrast.

Watch the CT - What to Expect Video.