Close Close
   
 
 
     

Computed Tomography

Head Scan 

What is a CT Scan of the Head? A CT Scan (sometimes referred to as a CAT Scan) is a noninvasive medical test to diagnose medical conditions.  It combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple cross sectional images of the inside of the body.   These cross-sectional images of the area being studied are examined on a computer monitor and can be transferred to a CD.

A CT scan can visualize the brain structures, bones and blood vessels. If intravenous (IV) contrast is used, it provides greater clarity and will reveal more details than regular x-ray exams.

How do I prepare for this Test?   Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to your exam. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for your comfort. You must not eat or drink anything for 2 hours prior to your exam.  If necessary, you may take your daily meds with a small amount of water.  Please bring a list of all your current medications and allergies. We can make a copy of your medication list if needed.  Please report to the Outpatient Registration Department 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. Outpatient Registration and Radiology Departments are located on the first floor of Beverly Hospital, Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers and Addison Gilbert Hospital. The technologist will greet you in the Radiology Department and escort you to the exam room.

What to Expect During the Head CT?    Although you may or may not receive IV contrast, you will be required to answer questions that our Technologist will review with you.  The decision to administer IV contrast will be made by your ordering Physician and/or our Radiologist.   The technologist will position you on the table lying on your back.  If you receive the contrast, an IV will be inserted in a vein in your arm.   You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted.  When the IV contrast is administered, you may feel a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes.  You may also experience a sensation like you have to urinate but this subsides quickly.  The table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scan.  Then the table will move more slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed.  You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, unless there are special circumstances.  However, the technologist will always be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times.

Testing Time:  The entire examination is usually completed within 15 minutes.

Risk of the Test:  Be sure to notify the technologist if there is any chance you may be pregnant or allergic to IV contrast.

Following the Test:  After your CT exam, if you received contrast, you will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids to flush out the IV contrast.   If you take a regular dose of Glucophage (Metformin), you MUST discontinue taking it for 48 hours following your exam. It is necessary to have a blood test in 2 days to determine that your kidneys are functioning properly BEFORE you resume your Glucophage.  We will fax your ordering physician to inform them of your need for a blood test.   You will also receive a letter from us reminding you of this. There are no other restrictions following the CT exam.

Results of the test:  Your ordering physician will receive the results within 24-48 hours.  It is important to discuss the results of the exam with your doctor.