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    Brain Cancer Health Center

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    Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Head and Face

    How It Feels

    The test will not cause pain. The table you lie on may feel hard, and the room may be cool. It may be hard to lie still during the test.

    Some people feel nervous inside the CT scanner.

    If a medicine to help you relax (sedative) or dye (contrast material) is used, an IV is usually put in your hand or arm. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is started. The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or get a headache. Tell the technologist or your doctor how you are feeling.


    The chance of a CT scan causing a problem is small.

    • There is a chance of an allergic reaction to the dye (contrast material).
    • If you have diabetes or take metformin (Glucophage), the dye may cause problems. Your doctor will tell you when to stop taking metformin and when to start taking it again after the test so you will not have problems.
    • There is a small chance of getting cancer from some types of CT scans.1 The risk is higher in children, young adults, and people who have many radiation tests. If you are concerned about this risk, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of a CT scan, and confirm that the test is needed.


    A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside the body.

    Complete results usually are ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

    CT scan of the head and face

    The brain and blood vessels and bones of the skull and face are normal in size, shape, and position.

    No foreign objects or growths are present.

    No bleeding or collections of fluid are present.


    A growth, such as a tumor, or bleeding is present in or around the brain. Foreign objects, such as glass or metal fragments, are present. The bones of the skull or face are broken (fractured) or look abnormal. Nerves leading to or from the brain are damaged or pinched.

    A collection of fluid is found, which may mean bleeding in or around the brain.

    An aneurysm is present.

    The openings in the brain (ventricles) through which cerebrospinal fluid flows into the spine are enlarged. An area of the brain shows swelling (edema) or other changes that may mean a stroke.

    The sinuses camera.gif are filled with fluid or have a thick lining.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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