A head CT is an imaging procedure that examines the brain and its surrounding anatomy.
Preparation for Your Exam
Please do not eat solid foods for at least three hours before your test. You may, however drink clear liquids during this time as well as take your usual medications.
For your exam you may be required to receive IV contrast (dye). IV contrast is an iodine based solution that is injected into your veins and appears very bright (white) on a CT image. This contrast allows for enhanced visualization of the blood vessels in your body. IV contrast is filtered from your blood by your kidneys and will be passed, unnoticed, from your body in your urine.
It is important that you inform the technologist before your exam if:
- You have had IV contrast before
- You have asthma
- You are allergic to any foods or medications
- You may be pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are diabetic and taking Glucophage (metformin)
During The Exam
When you are taken into the CT room you will be asked to lye on a CT table. Depending on the area of your body being scanned you may need to lye on your back or stomach. Like all CT exams it is very important that you hold very still for the duration of the study. This table will move in and out of the CT scanner (a large donut-shaped machine that is open on both ends) while acquiring images.
How long will it take?
This is different for everyone, however, on average, it should take 10-20 minutes from the time you enter the room.
After The Exam
You may resume your normal daily routine after your exam. If you were given IV contrast for your exam, be sure to increase your fluid intake to help clear the material from your system.
Getting Your Results
The CT examination will first be viewed by a radiologist who will send a report to your doctor. Your doctor should have access to your exam results within 24 hours.