CT Scan of the Head or Brain

CT scanning provides more detailed information on head injuries, stroke, brain tumors and other brain diseases than X-rays.

Common Uses of a Head CT

CT scanning of the head is typically used to detect:

  • Bleeding, brain injury and skull fractures in patients with head injuries
  • Bleeding caused by a ruptured or leaking aneurysm in a patient with a sudden severe headache
  • Blood clot or bleeding within the brain shortly after a patient exhibits symptoms of a stroke
  • Brain tumors
  • Diseases or malformations of the skull
  • Enlarged brain cavities (ventricles) in patients with hydrocephalus
  • Stroke

CT scanning is also performed to:

  • Assess aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations through a technique called CT angiography.
  • Diagnose diseases of the temporal bone on the side of the skull, which may be causing hearing problems.
  • Determine whether inflammation or other changes are present in the paranasal sinuses.
  • Evaluate the extent of bone and soft tissue damage in patients with facial trauma, and planning surgical reconstruction.
  • Guide the passage of a needle used to obtain a tissue sample (biopsy) from the brain.
  • Plan radiation therapy for cancer of the brain or other tissues.