Head/Brain CT scan

What is a CT scan of the head/brain?

CT of the head is an X-ray-based procedure in which images (pictures) are taken of the entire brain.

CT scans of the head/brain can provide more detailed information about brain tissue and brain structures than standard X-rays of the head. Therefore, this can provide more information related to injuries and brain disease.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Arrive 20 minutes prior to your exam.

There is no pre-exam preparation for this exam. Patients wearing earrings and certain facial piercings will need to remove their jewelry.

What will happen during the exam?

Depending on the reason for your exam, you may have an I.V. placed in your arm. A contrast will be injected through this I.V.

During the exam you will lie on your back with your arms in a comfortable position. Your head will be placed in a special holder which keeps your head still during the exam. Once the exam has started, the table will rise up and move in and out of a large circle. If you are receiving an injection of contrast, the technologist will cover some very specific medical history questions with you. After this the scan will start. A few images (pictures) will be taken so that the technologist can set up the area to be scanned. It is important that you hold still.

Some patients will have their scan without any injection of contrast, followed by an injection of contrast, and some patients will have a scan with only an injection of contrast. The Radiologist decides if the patient requires contrast based on the diagnosis (symptoms) provided to us by your physician.

For patients that receive an injection, the technologist will stay with you for the injection and a delay of 5-10 minutes will elapse before the scan will start.

How long will the procedure take?

Depending on the reason for your test, the procedure can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

What will happen after the exam?

After the exam is complete and you are feeling well, your I.V. will be removed and you will be released. There are some instances, such as head trauma, when the Radiologist must review your exam before you can be released.

A technologist will process your images using a computer. A Radiologist will evaluate the images within 24 hours and dictate a report. A transcription of the report will be typed and sent to your physician.

How will I learn the results?

You will get the results of the exam from your doctor.

Important: If there is any possibility that you are PREGNANT or NURSING a baby, please speak with your referring physician before your scheduled appointment.


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