Experiencing a head injury like a concussion is a scary experience. You know that you hit your head hard, but you cannot see the damage inside of your brain. Even when things seem fine at first, you can always develop symptoms later such as difficulty with balance, intolerance to bright lights, speech difficulties, problems with problem-solving and concentration, and finding it challenging to regulate your moods.
Whether you experience symptoms of a brain injury right away or they are delayed, your doctor may suggest a CT scan of your head. You may even request a scan yourself. In either case, you are likely to have questions about how a CT works and whether it can detect any abnormalities caused by your head injury.
Understanding a CT Scan of the Head
A CT scan, which stands for computed tomography, makes it possible for a doctor to see inside of your body. This type of medical technology combines the use of a computer and X-rays to provide detailed pictures of parts of your body that you or your doctor would not be able to see otherwise. It shows a significantly greater amount of detail than you can expect with an X-ray. If you feel nervous about the procedure, there is no need to be. It is fast and completely painless.
While you lie flat on an examining table, a thin beam of X-ray circles around your head. The purpose of this is to provide your doctor with multiple images of your brain from a variety of different angles. CT scan photos are two-dimensional. The computer then stacks each image on top of the next to create a clearer three-dimensional picture.
What a Head CT Scan Typically Shows
If you have struck your head, the CT scan may or may not show that you have any structural damage to your brain. That is because some head injuries cause microscopic changes at the cellular level without changing the brain structure in any way. However, a CT scan is an essential tool in evaluating many types of brain injuries, including the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Change in consciousness
- Mental status that fails to improve over time
- Penetrating injury of the skull
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Clinical depression
- Sudden confusion or agitation
Your doctor will recommend a head CT scan depending on your type of injury or suspected neurological disorder. If the results come back as inconclusive, he or she may recommend that you receive another type of imaging test such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
American Health Imaging Offers Several Types of Imaging Tests
American Health Imaging, with offices in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, is an independent imaging center that offers the CT, MRI, and several other types of tests. Because we focus solely on imaging tests, we provide our services at a lower cost than you would pay having your imaging test performed at a hospital.
After your doctor refers you to your closest center, we contact you to obtain additional information about the reason for your CT or other test and schedule your appointment. You will typically receive results from your referring physician within 24 hours. If this sounds like a better way to have an imaging test performed, contact American Health Imaging today to learn more.