Head CAT scan or Cranial CT scan is a non invasive procedure to study the insides of the head with the help of x-ray and computer generated images. CT scan of the head is mainly suggested to detect possibility of brain injury, skull fractures, severe headache, bleeding or blood clot after a heart attack or stroke, brain tumors, brain infection, enlarged brain cavities, skull malformations and other brain disorders. Head CT scanning is also conducted in relation to existing health disorders such as hearing problems and sinus congestion. Head CT scan also helps evaluate the extent of bone or soft tissue damage before planning a cosmetic surgery. Different types of head CT scan may also be suggested to study existing conditions such as CT scan brain abscess, CT scan subdural hematoma, CT scan brain tumor and CT scan of skull.
The head CT scan is mainly suggested for patients who indicate symptoms such as severe headache, have vision or hearing problems, experience numbness, tingling sensation or have difficulty in speaking or swallowing. Head injury and change in behaviors are also likely symptoms that may need a cranial CT scan to diagnose the possibility of health disorders. The head CT scan provides cross sectional images of the head comprising of the skull, brain, eye sockets and sinuses. The head CT scan requires the patient to lie down and remain still while the rotating scanner scans the images. The images taken by the rotating x-ray equipment are then stored as images in the computer which can be stored, viewed and printed. Special dyes also known as contrasts may be used to get clear images. Such dyes help highlight blood vessels and are usually injected through an intravenous (IV) line. The head CT scan will take a short time and usually lasts for a few minutes.
Head CT scan is usually a low risk and painless procedure. Certain risks associated with head CT scan include: exposure to high levels of radiation, allergic reaction to special dye injected for the test, allergic reaction to other medications and leaking of injected special dyes or contrasts outside the vein. Allergic reaction to iodine dyes that are used for a head CT scan may include symptoms such as nausea, itching, hives or shortness of breath. A head CT scan is a relatively safer method to determine disorders and decide the course of treatment. Other alternatives to cranial CT scan are MRI scan, Skull x-ray and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) of the head.