Find us on Social Media:

CT Scan of the Head
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is CT Scan of the Head?

A CT scan is a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body. In this case, the images are of the head.

CT Scan of the Head
CT Scan of the Head
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A CT scan is done to study the skull, brain, jaw, sinuses, and facial bones. The scan will look for signs of injuries, tumors, infections, or other diseases.

Your doctor may recommend a head CT if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Head injury or injury to the face or eyes
  • Dizziness or problems with balance
  • Confusion
  • Behavior or personality change
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Swelling in the face, head, or neck

Possible Complications

Sometimes a chemical (called contrast) is used to help improve the pictures. Complications with contrast are rare. If you are planning to have a CT scan with contrast, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Kidney failure

There is concern that radiation exposure from CT scans can increase the risk of cancer. Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.

Call Your Doctor

If you receive contrast, call your doctor if any of the following occurs after the test:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Swollen, itchy eyes
  • Tightness of throat
  • Difficulty breathing

In case of emergency, call 911.