Effective and Timely Brain CT Scans at Valley Radiology

The brain is a complex organ, central to your nervous system and cognitive functions. Our advanced brain CT scan allows us to create highly detailed cross-sectional images, providing unparalleled insights into the inner workings of this vital area of your body.

At Valley Radiology, we take immense pride in offering a comprehensive range of diagnostic imaging services to cater to your health and wellness needs.

Our team of radiologists provides a state-of-the-art CT scan of the head and brain to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. 

Read on to discover more about a head CT scan, including what it shows, how long it takes, and the differences between normal vs. abnormal brain CT scans. 

What Does a CT Scan of the Head Show?

A head CT scan provides detailed cross-sectional images of the brain and surrounding structures, offering valuable diagnostic information. 

This imaging technique allows radiologists and healthcare providers to get a better look at various aspects of the head and brain, including a better understanding of overall health by reviewing:

  • Anatomy
  • Ventricle Size
  • Skull and Facial Bones
  • Sinuses and Nasal Structures

A brain CT scan can help detect the presence of:

  • Bleeding
  • Tumors
  • Ischemic Strokes
  • Infections and Inflammation
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intracranial Abnormalities

A CT scan empowers healthcare providers to make more precise diagnoses, devise effective treatment plans, and monitor the development of health conditions over time. 

Does a CT Scan of the Head Include the Neck?

The short answer is no. 

A standard head CT scan focuses solely on imaging the structures within the skull and brain. It does not include the neck. 

A head CT scan provides detailed images of the brain, skull, and facial bones to assess for conditions such as tumors, bleeding, fractures, infections, and other intracranial abnormalities.

If there is a need to evaluate the structures in the neck, such as the cervical spine or neck blood vessels, a separate imaging study may be ordered. 

How Long Does a Brain CT Scan Take?

The duration of a CT scan of the brain varies depending on the complexity of the head or brain-related condition, injury, or illness. Generally speaking, a head CT scan lasts about 30 to 90 minutes. 

How Does a Brain CT Scan with Contrast Work?

Brain CT scans can be performed with or without a special contrast dye.

The contrast agent used in head CT scans is an iodine-based solution that is safe and effective for the most accurate review of your neurological diagnosis. 

A CT scan of the brain without contrast does not involve any consumption or intravenous injection of contrast dye. This type of head scan will provide detailed images of the anatomical structures in your head and brain. Head CT scans without contrast are often considered a baseline method of assessing the health of the organs in this particular area.

Conversely, a contrast agent is introduced into your bloodstream in a head CT scan with contrast, typically through an IV injection. 

This contrast emphasizes the appearance of crucial areas and is particularly useful for identifying small lesions, minuscule tumors, minute vascular abnormalities, and other less apparent inflammatory conditions.

A head CT scan with contrast is often used to gain a thorough and detailed understanding of your anatomical structure and potential condition.

Contrast-enhanced images are crucial in distinguishing between normal and abnormal tissues, allowing the radiologist to identify even small areas that may not be discernible on non-contrast CT scans. 

Using contrast agents enhances the visibility of specific structures. This added level of detail aids in accurately diagnosing and assessing various medical conditions of the head, skull, and brain.

Understanding the Differences Between a Normal vs. Abnormal Brain CT Scan

There are various differences when comparing a normal brain scan to an abnormal one.

A normal brain CT scan shows the typical structure and shape of the brain, including the cerebral hemispheres, cerebellum, and brainstem, with no apparent abnormalities. 

It will also include healthy ventricles within regular size and shape limits that indicate normal cerebrospinal fluid flow.

In a healthy head CT scan, the skull bones and facial structures appear intact with no evidence of fractures, deformities, or injuries. Blood vessels are visible but show no signs of abnormalities such as aneurysms or abnormal vessel dilations.

Brain tissue density appears uniform and without any signs of abnormal growths, tumors, or masses.

Conversely, if any of the aforementioned areas of the skull or brain indicate injury, illness, or irregular growth, your brain CT scan may be categorized as “abnormal.”

An abnormal brain scan includes one or more of the following:

  • Presence of abnormal growths or masses
  • Evidence of intracranial hemorrhage or bleeding.
  • Evidence of blocked blood vessels causing reduced blood flow to specific regions.
  • Signs of inflammation, abscesses, or other infectious conditions.
  • Enlarged ventricles due to an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Fractures, contusions, or other traumatic injuries.
  • Developmental anomalies or malformations.
  • Shifts in structure following an injury
  • Anomalies like arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or aneurysms
  • Increased or decreased tissue density
  • Swelling or edema

A head CT scan may also show signs of conditions that don’t directly affect the brain but impact the skull, such as fractures or abnormalities of the facial bones.

Your Trusted Team for a Comprehensive Brain CT Scan

At Valley Radiology, we are dedicated to delivering precise and reliable imaging results to support your healthcare journey, regardless of the challenges you may encounter. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms related to your head or brain health, a CT scan of the brain with contrast can be an essential step in identifying the underlying cause.

Living with persistent headaches, neurological symptoms, or other concerns that impact your daily life and overall well-being may require further investigation. 

A CT scan of the head offers enhanced visualization, allowing our experienced radiologists to detect subtle abnormalities that might not be visible on non-contrast scans.

Please note that a doctor’s referral is required for a head CT scan. If you believe you’re a candidate for one, we encourage you to contact your primary care provider directly.

For all other imaging-related inquiries, please contact us online today.