A computed tomography (CT) scan uses
X-rays to make pictures of the head and face.
During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT
scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. Your head will be positioned
inside the scanner. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the head. Each rotation
of the scanner provides a picture of a thin slice of the
head and face. One part of the scanning machine can tilt to take pictures from
different positions. All of the pictures are saved as a group on a computer.
They also can be printed.
In some cases, a
dye called contrast material may be put in a vein (IV) in your arm or into the spinal canal. The dye makes structures and organs easier to see on the CT
pictures. The dye may be used to check blood flow and look for
tumors, areas of
inflammation, or nerve damage.
CT scan of the head can give some information about the eyes, facial bones,
air-filled cavities (sinuses) within the bones around the nose, and the inner
ear. If these areas are of concern, a specific CT scan of the area is usually
A CT scan of the head may be used to evaluate headaches.
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