CSN Login
Members Online: 9

You are here

With or without

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

I am allergic to the contrast dye used in CT Scans and took a drug cocktail to help allievate that issue, but in Oct 08 (after taking the drug cocktail), the radiologist at the hospital stated he would not perform the scan with contrast even though I had already taken the drug cocktail due to the fact that the more scans you get the higher risk of a greater allergic reaction regardless of the drug cocktail you are taking, so I called my Onc Dr and he stated it was okay to perform this scan and ALL future scans without the contrast, which leads me to my question:

Is anyone else on this boat with me and is there a REAL different in viewing or seeing things with the contrast? Oh yea, I do drink that milky substance before each scan.

Yes, I know that the contrast does light-up your insides and shows all the viens, artiers, etc., alot better, but wasn't sure.

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Nudgie,

All I know about this is that when I was getting evaluated for my liver resection, the liver surgeon had me redo a CT scan of the liver. He said there wasn't enough contrast (they actually had shot the contrast into my vein), and he said he couldn't see the tumors clearly enough. I asked him about it at the time and he told me that if he were just my oncologist evaluating me to see if I had tumors or not, it would have been fine. But he needed to see them really clearly and for some reason, even though they actually had put the contast into my vein, there wasn't enough contrast and things didn't show up clearly enough for his liking.

I don't know how that relates to your situation, but it's something to take into consideration and possibly mention to your onc and see what his thoughts on that are.

Good luck-

Posts: 453
Joined: Aug 2008


I am also "allergic" to the dye. I got one hive each time after 2 separate scans. My last scan was done without contrast and was not a concern to my onc. I will be having another scan at the end of May and plan on revisting the isuue with him just to make sure. It is true that you COULD have a severe reaction the next time and radiology staff are very reluctant to premedicate because they don't want to have anyone have a full anaphalactic reaction in their department.

As Lisa said I believe it does depend on what they are evaluating. If they are just looking if there are tumors or not it probably is not necessary. However if they are looking for vascular location for liver recection or in my case (prior to my allergic reaction) I had a CT for a pulmonary emboli-I don't imagine that could have been diagnosed without contrast since they need to evaluate vessels. Talk to your Onc -I would be interested to hear what he says and I will talk with mine again also.

Take Care,

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

I keep hearing about the scans that folk on this board have where they have to drink something before the scans, with varying reviews as to how the stuff tastes. I have never had to drink anything, other than water before a scan.

When I had my scans with the interventional radiologist for my RFA lung ablation procedure, he said that he needs a scan with contrast dye and without. So they did the "without" first, then hooked me up to an IV for the dye. The IV is always a problem with me because I have rolling veins... but they have never suggested that I drink stuff instead of the IV... so I'm really not sure what the difference is between having the dye orally or having it via IV.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

i have had dozens of CT scans and they are all the same. For one and one half hours you drink a dye that is mixed with koolade sort of stuff....not thick not milky just like grape Freshie. After an hour and a half you go in for scan ....if they are doing above the pelvis you eat a thick pudding. Then you have an IV inserted and they inject you whilst you are being scanned. this dye they inject tastes bitter and makes you feel like you have wet yourself.....anybody else have this scan????


kristasplace's picture
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Maglets, i get that one a lot! Except for the freshie grape thing. What's that? They always give me the IV contrast that makes you hot, and like you peepeed your pants. I haven't had the stuff you drink since my diagnosis. They may have stopped giving that to me because the last time they did it, i had my big tumor down there, and the contrast couldn't get passed it. They were all confused about why they couldn't see the pelvis! Then it dawned on me! I think they may have put that in my chart, and now no one gives me the drink!

I've never had a CT scan without the IV contrast injection, OR MRI scan without, either.
Also, with the pelvic MRI, they make me put gel in my u-no-what before they take the pictures. I know the first time was to see if the tumor had breached the colon wall, but why this last time, i do not know. Tumor is gone!

I wish i could help about the allergic reactions to the contrast. Is it just to the IV contrast?

Many hugs,

Joy1216's picture
Posts: 293
Joined: Mar 2006

I'm severely allergic to IV contrast dye. My family doctor prescribed massive doses of prednisone before each scan. It's been three years, but I remember taking prednisone at bedtime and in the morning prior to the scan. I did have a scan of my lungs without contrast and the radiologist was able to read it fine. (I was diagnosed Stage 1 and the oncologist did not recommend any more scans after surgery.) I wasn't told about the increasing risk of severity of the allergic reaction with additional scans. That's disconcerting since I am so allergic to the IV contrast dye.

sharpy102's picture
Posts: 370
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi all,

My mom was also allergic to the dye they used as a contrast for CT, and they did it without which showed that she was completely free of cancer cells...that was exactly the problem. Contrast dye is REALLY REALLY REALLY important. After her CT, only two months passed by and she felt pretty sick, so she went to another oncologist. They used a different type of dye this time, and did the scan again, and guess what?! She was FULL of tumors which spreaded pretty bad! After this experiment we had (which actually put mom into a situation that the doctors raise their hands up and say "no need for surgery, or chemo. Go home, enjoy your life, you're not going to hang around too long".)
So, the only advice I can give is to go and tell your doctor what contrast dye you had which you had allergy symptoms because there are tons of type that can substitute the one you had, and it is very important. Without dye, it is almost unnecessary to have any scan...(or at least this was our experiment- of course every caner is different)
Good luck~

Subscribe to Comments for "With or without"