Posts tagged ‘positiona’

August 21, 2014

Head Aches, Head Issues #3: CT Scan of the Head

CT scan by NithinRao via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainSo if you’ve had a good wallop to the head (or it just feels like you have) your doctor may direct you to a head CT.


Like all CTs, a modifiable dose of radiation is used to image the body in “slices” which are then reconstructed into images. Use of radiation in pregnancy should be reserved for special cases, so let the technologists know if you are or could be pregnant.


What To Expect


Before a CT of the head, no special preparation is necessary. However, metal interferes with the images, so jewelry, hairpins and the like will need to be removed from the region of the head.


The procedure takes approximately ten minutes with only the head moving through the machine. Persons with claustrophobia typically do well with CT because the exam is fast and the machine itself is not too confining. Holding still is important – as with all images, motion causes blurring.


CT of the head is often performed without contrast. For cases following trauma or in an evaluation for headache a non-contrast examination may be sufficient.  There are times when IV contrast injection is necessary. This additional part of the study can be very helpful to evaluate the blood vessels in the head and for assessment of the brain tissues and its enhancement. The iodinated contrast material will be given thru an IV which may cause a feeling of warmth. Images are then taken in the same manner as the initial non-contrast series.


What Happens Next


After your exam is completed, the images are studied by your radiologist for interpretation and reporting. The results are then shared with your referring doctor to integrate the new information gained from your head CT with clinical symptoms for a specific diagnosis.


On Your Way!


That’s it! A CT head is a quick, simple procedure which can be invaluable in looking at your brain and surrounding tissues. It can help get you on your way to being headache- and anxiety – free!



(Image credit: CT scan by NithinRao via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)



Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at and general radiology at Visit our sites for more helpful information!

August 19, 2014

Headaches and Head Issues #2: Looking Inside Your Head

800px-Brain_MRISo… there will be times when a headache prompts further evaluation. Imaging can be used to study the brain and its surrounding tissues. CT and MRI are both common imaging techniques for evaluating the brain and adjacent tissues when imaging for headaches is indicated.


For sudden onset headache, thunderclap headache, and headache following trauma in the past 48 hours, we often start with CT of the head.


CT Scans

The initial CT imaging is done without contrast; images are obtained through the skull while the patient lies still. This takes only a few minutes.


From this we can see hemorrhages in and around the brain – one of the serious causes for headaches that can be seen from both traumatic and non-traumatic causes.


Occasionally, the noncontrast study will be followed by postcontrast imaging after an IV injection of iodine-containing contrast – this highlights the vessels and demonstrates abnormal enhancement in the brain, such as masses.


CT uses radiation to make its images – therefore, use in pregnant patients will generally be reserved for special indications and circumstances.


MRI Scans

If there are any neurologic changes associated with your headaches (things like numbness, loss of strength or confusion) imaging with MRI may be requested. An MRI shows the internal structure of the brain in great detail. Masses and areas of abnormality from things such as strokes and multiple sclerosis are well shown with this modality. Because the procedure takes about 30 minutes to fully image the head, it does require the ability to lay on your back for a length of time. Images can be obtained both without and with IV contrast containing gadolinium, often times with both. Gadolinium contrast helps us look at vascular structure and for abnormal enhancement.


MRI can be used in some instances during pregnancy, but only after the first trimester is complete. No IV contrast is used for MRI in pregnancy.


Patients with pacemakers and other implanted surgical devices may not be able to undergo MR imaging. Let your doctor know of all surgeries and procedures prior to scheduling your MRI.


These exams can shed amazing light on the brain and its functions (or malfunctions). While we always work to image wisely, we can also image exquisitely. From the finest of endings to the largest of masses, we are able to have a noninvasive peak inside the inner workings of the brain. Through this we are able to get our patients on the road to their best possible health!



(Image credit: Brain fMRI via Wikimedia Commons, Copyright Public Domain)


Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at and general radiology at Visit our sites for more helpful information!