Suppose your doctor recommends a CT scan of the head! In that case, there may be an underlying abnormality, and a CT or computed tomography technique can identify it, helping your doctor initiate the appropriate treatment course for you.
Now, if you are wondering what a CT scan of the head shows, let me tell you that there exist various reasons for your doctor to recommend such a scan. And I am here to shed light on them all!
So, stay tuned and keep reading till the end.
Overview: What is A CT Scan, and What Does a CT Scan of The Head Show?
A CT scan is an imaging test that uses multiple-angled X-ray beams to create two-dimensional cross-sectional images of your internal body parts. It is a quick process, conducted outpatient in almost all healthcare centers.
CT scans do not involve any cuts or wear and tear to the body and are, therefore, painless! However, these scans do indulge in some amount of radiation exposure and hence, do not apply for all, especially children, pregnant women, and those with diabetes.
A Head CT scan is one that shows your brain anatomy, that is, soft tissues in your brain, the cerebrum, the cerebellum, the brainstem, the blood vessels, and so forth. This scan may or may not involve contrast dye. This dye is typically a tracer enhancing the area of diagnosis in the CT images. It helps your doctor pinpoint a deeper brain abnormality, like a malignant growth or white matter disease.
How Does a CT Scan of The Head Work?
A Head CT scan occurs in the presence of a radiology team. During the scan, you have to lie on a table or bed while the X-ray beams rotate around your head to take the images. The visuals appear on the computer console, and the radiologist who sits in front of it instructs the technicians to move the scanner depending on how clear the visuals appear.
If you pursue a contrast-enhanced Head CT, the radiology team is likely to ask you to show up early, as you shall have to wait for a few hours after the contrast administration, intravenously or orally. This time is requisite for the dye to stick to your red blood cells and highlight your brain structure.
The scanning process takes around 20 to 30 minutes. After that, you are free to leave for the office or home. However, the contrast dye may provoke mild side effects, like nausea, fatigue, skin irritation or redness, etc. These are temporary and wipe out with the removal of the dye automatically from your body. If you witness them staying by even after the dye exit, consult your doctor immediately.
When Do Doctors Prescribe a Head CT?
Doctors typically prescribe Head CTs for three main reasons, and they are as follows!
The first and foremost reason for your doctor to order a Head CT is disease detection, whether it is a stroke, tumor, injury, blood clots, or serious headache! A CT scan can identify the exact location and extent of the disease, its composition, size, shape, and other characteristics. This disease detection also involves differentiating between two or more diseases and whether or not you actually have an internal problem.
Treatment or Test Monitoring
The second reason for your doctor to order a Head CT is to monitor a further test or treatment course. Such an instance appears typically during invasive cancer biopsies, where the CT modality helps your doctor guide the needles to pick cancerous tissue samples, or during major surgeries, like draining an abscess. Besides, doctors use CT scans to plan and monitor radiation therapy.
Checking Response to The Treatments
The third reason for doctors to recommend a Head CT is to comprehend how well your body responds to a particular treatment course. Such a scan takes place as a part of your routine checkup, typically when you have a tumor in the brain. Subsequently, your doctor can check whether the tumor has got shrunk and whether there is any episode of recurrence or relapse.
What Diseases Can A Head CT Detect?
A Head CT can detect a wide range of disorders and diseases, and they are the following.
- Internal bleeding or hemorrhage,
- Congenital (birth) defects in the brain,
- Brain infections,
- Fluid buildup inside the skull (called hydrocephalus),
- Benign or malignant tumors,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Soft tissue injury,
- Bone injury,
- Bulged blood vessels, i.e., aneurysm,
- Narrowed blood vessels,
- Loss of brain tissue (or cerebral atrophy),
- Swelling or inflammation in the brain tissue,
- Vascular dementia,
- Blood clot,
- Structural malformation,
- Enlarged brain cavities,
- Alzheimer’s disease, or the condition in which the cells that carry out memory and thinking functions die out,
- Obstruction in the Nassal passage,
- Brain damage,
- Other lesions, and a myriad more!
Yes! These are what a CT scan of the head shows! So, if you experience symptoms like –
1) Severe and persistent headache,
2) Seizures (or fainting),
3) Abrupt vision loss,
4) Movement-related problems,
5) Changes in behavior or thinking,
6) Muscle weakness,
7) Numbness or tingling sensation,
9) Extreme nausea,
10) Mood changes,
11) Extreme mental and physical fatigue,
12) Neck stiffness,
13) Fever, or more, you must see a doctor.
Are you still here, reading with me? Well, it’s time to wrap up for today. I hope the article on what a CT scan of the head show served its purpose. I hope you can now move ahead with the CT scan your doctors asked for and cooperate with them to fight the underlying brain disease, if any.
If you have a problem pursuing a head CT scan, and your doctor suggests a safer alternative, such as an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), you can book one at www.mrichandigarh.com.
If you have more queries about head CTs, you can freely reach out to us at [email protected]. We shall come back with a suitable solution soon!