With or Without Contrast?

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

Question

My doctor has ordered test sometimes with contrast and sometimes not. Why are some tests with "contrast" and some not? What does that mean to have a test with contrast and is it better?

Answer

James Metz, MD, OncoLink Editor In Chief, responds:

Contrast may be utilized at certain times to get a better view of the blood vessels or certain organs like the liver. It is not helpful in all circumstances. In fact, some people can develop allergies to contrast dye or can have effects on the kidneys. This is why we do not order contrast with every study. We only order it if it will give more information in that clinical circumstance.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.

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