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CT Scan of the Head (Brain)

UPMC Content 2

About this Exam

A computed tommography (CT) scan is a special computerized x-ray test that allows your doctor to see your organs, bones, and tissues. A CT scan of the head is done to help diagnose various disease processes in the brain. Your doctor or radiologist may request that you receive contrast through a vein in your arm to highlight blood vessels and other areas in your brain.

  • If you will not be receiving intravenous contrast, no prep is required. Please skip to "Day of Exam."
  • If your doctor or radiologist wants you to have intravenous contrast, please follow the instructions in the next section.

Prior to this exam

  • Do not eat anything 4 hours prior to this exam. You may have clear liquids. If you are a diabetic, you need to contact your family physician for instructions on diet and/or medication.
  • If you have an iodine, x-ray dye, or contrast allergy, please contact the radiology nurse at 814-877-6182.
  • If you meet one or more of the following criteria, you will need blood work to evaluate your kidney function prior to this exam. Please contact the ordering physician if you:
    • Are age 65 or older
    • Have diabetes
    • Have a history of multiple vascular surgeries/procedures (for example, open heart surgery, stent placement, or heart catheterization)
    • Are currently receiving chemotherapy
    • Have a history of kidney failure
    • Were born with one kidney OR if you had a kidney removed surgically

Day of Exam

  • For your convenience, we ask that you do not wear earrings, a necklace, or hairpins. Any item that is metal in the area of interest will need to be removed prior to your exam.
  • You should report to Outpatient Registration 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time.

After Your Exam

You can plan on returning to your normal diet and activities. If there are any other instructions, they will be given to you at the time of your exam.

For questions or concerns, please call 814-877-6182.

Your physician should have the results of your exam in two to three working days.

If you need your films or CD for an appointment, please notify the receptionist in Radiology when you arrive.