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CT of the Head/Brain

A CT of the Head/Brain is a noninvasive medical scan that uses special x-ray equipment to obtain images from all angles of the head. It then joins the images together to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs. These cross-sectional images of the area can then be examined and studied on a computer monitor. The scan provides detailed information on head injuries, stroke, brain tumors, and other brain diseases.

Your doctor may recommend a CT Head/Brain to detect:

  • Bleeding
  • Brain injury or skull fractures in patients with head injuries
  • A blood clot or bleeding within the brain shortly after a patient exhibits signs of a stroke
  • Brain tumors
  • Diseases or malformations of the skull
  • A stroke

The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on your back or possibly on your side or stomach. Straps and pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and to hold still during the exam. If contrast material is used, it will be swallowed, injected through an intravenous line (IV), depending on the type of examination. Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, whether breathing or body movements, can lead to artifacts on the images. This is similar to the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object. When the examination is completed, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation. A CT scan of the head is usually completed within 10 minutes.

For Physicians

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