Bringing it all together

This final lesson is intended to show you how each of the individual pieces we have discussed throughout this course fit together to perform an efficient and complete review of all important structures in abdominal CT.

The basis of both image review and reporting is that of a search pattern. In other words, it’s important to read a CT study the same way every time, systematically looking at all important structures in order rather than swirling your gaze around the images hoping that you encounter an obvious abnormality.

The report

A structured report organizes the findings in a logical order and serves as a checklist for the reader. When interpreting an abdominal CT, examine the following in order:

  1. Lower chest
  2. Abdominal organs
  3. Bowel
  4. Vessels
  5. Lymph nodes
  6. Reproductive organs
  7. Musculoskeletal structures
  8. Body wall

As you review each area, describe your observations of both normal and abnormal structures. Check out the Abdominal CT reporting checklist and embedded below

The impression

After you finish the hard work of describing all of the important anatomy and pathology, it’s time to craft the impression. The impression should include the meaning of the key findings in the form of a diagnosis or list of possible diagnoses (called a differential diagnosis) and recommendations for next steps.

CT Abdomen Reporting Checklist

This is an edited excerpt from the Medmastery course Abdominal CT Essentials by Michael P. Hartung, MD. Acknowledgement and attribution to Medmastery for providing course transcripts.


Radiology Library: Abdominal CT: Imaging important abdominal structures

Abdominal CT interpretation


Assistant Professor of Abdominal Imaging and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Interests include resident and medical student education, incorporating the latest technology for teaching radiology. I am also active as a volunteer teleradiologist for hospitals in Peru and Kenya. | Medmastery | Radiopaedia | Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Scopus 

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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