The CT scout view: complementary value added to abdominal CT interpretation

Matthew H. Lee, Meghan G. Lubner, Vincent Mellnick, Christine O. Menias, Sanjeev Bhalla, Perry J. Pickhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Computed tomography (CT) scout images, also known as CT localizer radiographs, topograms, or scanograms, are an important, albeit often overlooked part of the CT examination. Scout images may contain important findings outside of the scanned field of view on CT examinations of the abdomen and pelvis, such as unsuspected lung cancer at the lung bases. Alternatively, scout images can provide complementary information to findings within the scanned field of view, such as characterization of retained surgical foreign bodies. Assessment of scout images adds value and provides a complementary “opportunistic” review for interpretation of abdominopelvic CT examinations. Scout image review is a useful modern application of conventional abdominal radiograph interpretation that can help establish a diagnosis or narrow a differential diagnosis. This review discusses the primary purpose and intent of the CT scout images, addresses standard of care and bias related to scout image review, and presents a general systematic approach to assessing scout images with multiple illustrative examples, including potential pitfalls in interpreting scout images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5021-5036
Number of pages16
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • CT
  • CT interpretation
  • abdominal CT
  • scout review
  • scout view


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