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How Long Does A Brain Ct Scan Take

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What Is A Ct Scan Of The Brain

How Long Does A CT Scan Take? Brain CT Scan Exam

A CT of the brain is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that usesspecialX-raysmeasurements to produce horizontal, or axial, images of the brain. Brain CT scans can provide more detailed information aboutbrain tissue and brain structures than standard X-rays of the head, thusproviding more data related to injuries and/or diseases of the brain.

During a brain CT, the X-ray beam moves in a circle around the body,allowing many different views of the brain. The X-ray information is sentto a computer that interprets the X-ray data and displays it in atwo-dimensional form on a monitor.

Brain CT scans may be done with or without “contrast.” Contrast refers to asubstance taken by mouth or injected into an intravenous line thatcauses the particular organ or tissue under study to be seen more clearly.Contrast examinations may require you to fast for a certain period of timebefore the procedure. Your physician will notify you of this prior to theprocedure.

Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose brain disordersincludeX-rays,magnetic resonance imaging of the brain,positron emission tomography scan of the brain, andcerebral arteriogram.

How Should I Prepare For A Ct Scan

Arrive 15-20 minutes early for your appointment, perhaps further in advance if the scan requires contrast agents. It does take a while for the contrast agent to move into the scanning target area of your body, especially if an abdominal scan is required. If the contrast material is ingestible rather than intravenous and takes several hours to be effective, you may be able to pick it up and take it ahead of time.

Youll need to remove any metal objects that could interfere with the imaging, such as belts, jewelry, dentures, or glasses. Wear comfortable clothing thats easy to remove. You may be required to remove some or all of your clothes. If thats the case, your technician will provide you with a hospital gown.

Generally, you may eat and drink as normal. If your scan includes an injection of a contrast agent, youll need to avoid eating or drinking from three hours beforehand. Clear fluids are usually OK, though in some cases, you may receive instructions to restrict your fluids.

Why Would A Doctor Order An Mri Of The Brain

Your doctor might ask you to get an MRI scan done for the following reasons:

  • If you have been in an accident or are injured, an MRI scan will be asked for if the impact of the scan was on any part of the brain. This is because an MRI scan will be useful in detecting if there is any internal bleeding. Let his sort of bleeding slide can result in horrible consequences.
  • If you have been experiencing a lot of dizziness, memory loss issues, or headaches then in order to identify the root of the problem your doctor might ask you to get an MRI scan done. It is important to keep in mind that these scans are not for regular headaches. You will only be asked to get one if the headaches arent getting better and are constant.
  • Moreover, MRIs are also used a lot for patients who might be suffering from brain tumors, etc. With this scan, the doctors can come up with plans regarding the procedures involved in treating it.
  • Sometimes individuals suffering from Parkinsons disease, etc might have to get some sort of medical device placed in their brains. An MRI scan is used during the process of placing the device. The scan helps in getting an accurate placement.
  • In the case when patients are undergoing treatments for their brain-related issues, MRI scans can help doctors keep an eye on the progress of the treatment and move ahead accordingly. Some doctors also ask their patients to get MRIs done if they want to see whether a disease has returned after treatment.
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    How Long Does The Test Take

    Typically, you should plan for an hour for a CT scan. Most of that time is for preparation. The scan itself takes between 10 and 30 minutes or less. Generally, you can resume your activities after a healthcare provider says it is safe to do so usually after they complete the scan and verify clear images.

    What Does A Ct Scan Show

    How Long Do The Results Of A Ct Scan Take

    Your healthcare provider will order a CT scan to help make a diagnosis of your health. The scan enables providers to closely examine bones, organs and other soft tissues, blood vessels and suspicious growths. Things that a CT scan can find include:

    • Certain types of cancer and benign tumors.
    • Bowel disorders .
    • Brain and spinal cord diseases or injuries.
    • Internal bleeding.

    Healthcare providers can also see organs and tissues on X-rays. But on X-rays, body structures appear to overlap, making it difficult to see everything. The CT scan shows spaces between organs for a clearer view.

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    How Is The Procedure Performed

    The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT exam table, usually lying flat on your back. They may use straps and pillows to help you maintain the correct position and remain still during the exam.

    Many scanners are fast enough to scan children without sedation. In special cases, children who cannot hold still may need sedation. Motion may cause blurring of the images and degrade image quality the same way that it affects photographs.

    The exam may use contrast material, depending on the type of exam. If so, it will be swallowed, injected through an intravenous line or, rarely, administered by enema.

    Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine for the actual CT scan. Depending on the type of CT scan, the machine may make several passes.

    The technologist may ask you to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, including breathing and body movements, can lead to artifacts on the images. This loss of image quality can resemble the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object.

    When the exam is complete, the technologist will ask you to wait until they verify that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation by the radiologist.

    A CT scan of the head usually takes about 10 minutes.

    What Are The Limitations Of Ct Scanning Of The Head

    A person who is very large may not fit into the opening of a conventional CT scanner. Or, they may be over the weight limitusually 450 poundsfor the moving table.

    Compared to MR imaging, the precise details of soft tissue are less visible on CT scans. CT is not sensitive in detecting inflammation of the meningesthe membranes covering the brain.

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    Before Having A Ct Scan

    Before having the scan, you may be given a special dye called a contrast to help improve the quality of the images.

    This may be swallowed in the form of a drink, passed into your bottom , or injected into a blood vessel.

    Tell the radiographer if you feel anxious or claustrophobic about having the scan.

    They can give you advice to help you feel calm and can arrange for you to have a sedative if necessary.

    Before the scan starts, you may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a gown.

    You’ll also be asked to remove anything metal, such as jewellery, as metal interferes with the scanning equipment.

    What Is A Ct Scan

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    A CT scan, or CAT scan, is a common term for computerized tomography, a painless diagnostic imaging test that displays images of internal structures of the body on a computer screen. Cat scan uses a narrow beam of X-rays and high-powered computers to generate images of bones and soft-tissues in the body and head.

    • Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
    • Please inform your doctor if you are allergic to contrast
    • Do not eat solid foods 2 hours prior to your exam, if your exam is scheduled with contrast
    • Take all of your prescribed medications as scheduled

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    What Is A Brain Pet Scan

    A brain positron emission tomography scan is an imaging test that allows doctors to see how your brain is functioning.

    The scan captures images of the activity of the brain after radioactive tracers have been absorbed into the bloodstream. These tracers are attached to compounds like glucose . Glucose is the principal fuel of the brain.

    Active areas of the brain will be utilizing glucose at a higher rate than inactive areas. When highlighted under a PET scanner, it allows doctors to see how the brain is working and helps them detect any abnormalities.

    Its typically an outpatient procedure. This means youll be able to go about your day after the test is complete.

    How Long After Ct Scan For Results

    Major test48 hours

    During a CT scan, you have to lie in a tunnel-like machine, where the machine will rotate and click the x-ray pictures from a different angle. These pictures are sent to a computer attached to it where these X-rays are combined to create a cross-section of the body or 3D imaging of the particular body part.

    During the whole procedure, you have to wear a particular dye called a contrast material which is used to create a contrast effect so that the internal structure may show up more clearly on the imaging. The contrast material is used so that it can block the x-ray at some points and can appear white on the images as a result the other structures which are being examined can be highlighted.

    When you arrive at the hospital for a CT scan you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and to remove all the jewelry items you wear including your specs and dentures. Then the next will be that you will be asked by your doctor to lie on a table in a prone position. Eventually, that table will slide inside a tunnel-like CT scanner for examination.

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    Who Should Not Have An Mri

    MRI scans pose low levels of risk, but they are not for everyone. The intense magnetic field generated during the MRI could cause problems for those with metallic implants in their body. Have a conversation with your primary care provider about whether you should have an MRI if you have any of the following:

    These devices often contain iron-based metal and may be pulled from the body by the magnetics in the MRI. Pacemakers can malfunction. Aneurysm clips may dislodge, leading to fatal bleeding. Some dark tattoo ink is metallic, which could interact with the MRIs magnet. If you have any implants constructed from titanium, you can have an MRI.

    Ask your doctor which scan is right for you if you have heart or kidney problems and need contrast dye. The dye used, a gadolinium-based product, is well-tolerated by those allergic to iodine and shellfish.

    Those with severe claustrophobia can still get an MRI. Ask if an open MRI is a good option for you or see if you can use a sedative to remain still during the scan. Being claustrophobic is not a reason to pass on a needed MRI.

    How Do I Prepare For A Ct Scan

    How Long Is A Ct Scan With Contrast Take

    Your healthcare provider will give you instructions on how to prepare for your CT scan. On the day of the exam, you should pay attention to:

    • Arrival: You should plan to arrive early, depending on your healthcare providers instructions. Arriving early helps the testing stay on schedule.
    • Diet: Avoid eating and drinking for four hours before your exam.
    • Medications: Ask your healthcare provider if you should take your regular medicines before the CT scan.
    • Comfort: You should wear comfortable clothes. You may need to change into a gown before the exam and remove your watch and jewelry, including any piercings you can remove. You may need to remove dentures and hearing aids, too. Zippers and metal objects can obstruct the scan.

    If your CT scan uses dye or contrast, your provider may give you some specific preparation guidelines:

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    What Does The Equipment Look Like

    The CT scanner is typically a large, donut-shaped machine with a short tunnel in the center. You will lie on a narrow table that slides in and out of this short tunnel. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is in a separate control room. This is where the technologist operates the scanner and monitors your exam in direct visual contact. The technologist will be able to hear and talk to you using a speaker and microphone.

    How Do Mri And Ct Scans Differ

    There are several differences between CT scans and MRIs. Usually, your doctor will decide on the best scanning tool for your situation. Here are several ways the two stand apart.

    • Cost: CT scans are almost half the price of MRIs. The average computed tomography scan costs around $1,200 while an MRI is about $2,000.
    • Speed: CT scans take much less time than MRIs. The exact time required depends on whether you need a contrast dye for the procedure, but MRIs always require more time for the scan. A typical CT scan lasts 10 minutes whereas MRIs can take up to an hour or longer.
    • Images: MRIs will produce sharper, more detailed results, especially of soft tissues and behind bones, which may block views on CT scans.
    • Sound level: MRIs tend to be very noisy, and you will get earplugs or headphones to reduce the effect on your ears. CT scans are much quieter than MRIs, and you wont need ear protection during the procedure.

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    How Do I Prepare Do I Need To Fast

    Do not wear hair pins, hair weaves, eye makeup or jewelry on the day of your appointment. No preparations for non-contrast exams. If with contrast, do not eat or drink 4 hours prior to scanning. Can take usual medication with a sip of water. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.


  • Before starting the CT scan, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body, including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
  • Then you will have to lie still on the CT scanner table, which will move slowly through a doughnut-shaped machine. Pillows and straps may be used to help keep your head still during the scan.
  • The scanner will move in a circle around your body and X-ray beam will pass through your body for small amounts of time. It will take multiple images that will be displayed on a monitor.
  • During the scan, a technologist will give you instructions such as stay still and hold your breath for 10 to 12 seconds various times.
  • You will be given a call button, so that you can inform the technologist, in case you face any problems during the scan.
  • For a brain CT scan with contrast, you will be asked to step out of the scanner after the first procedure. Post this, a contrast dye will be administered into your veins. This dye will show enhanced images of your brain in the scan results.

    How Do Ct Scans Work

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    They use a narrow X-ray beam that circles around one part of your body. This provides a series of images from many different angles. A computer uses this information to create a cross-sectional picture. Like one piece in a loaf of bread, this two-dimensional scan shows a âsliceâ of the inside of your body.

    This process is repeated to produce a number of slices. The computer stacks these scans one on top of the other to create a detailed image of your organs, bones, or blood vessels. For example, a surgeon may use this type of scan to look at all sides of a tumor to prepare for an operation.

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    What Are The Side Effects

    Some people are allergic to the contrast materials. Most of the time, the reaction is mild. It can lead to itchiness or a rash. In very few cases, the dye may trigger a life-threatening reaction. For this reason, your health care provider may want to monitor you for a short period after your CT scan. Tell your doctor about any allergies you have to medications, seafood, or iodine.

    Your doctor should know, too, if you have diabetes and are taking the drug metformin. Theyâll let you know if you should stop taking your medication before or after your procedure.

    Although itâs rare, contrast materials can lead to kidney problems. Let your doctor know if you have any kidney issues before the CT scan.

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    What Happens After The Test

    • You will probably be able to go home right away.
    • You can go back to your usual activities right away.
    • If dye was used, drink plenty of fluids for 24 hours after the test, unless your doctor tells you not to.

    Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

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