Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic imaging technique in which X-rays are taken from different angles and then processed using a special computer to create cross-sectional images of the head, spine, or other part of the body. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays.
In some cases, a contrast agent may be injected into a vein to make it easier to see internal structures. This procedure is called a CT angiography.
A computed tomography scan may be used to diagnose or determine the cause of the following problems:
- Brain tumor
- Hemorrhage (bleeding)
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Buildup of fluid inside the skull (hydrocephalus)
- Brain infection
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
- Muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling
- Speaking difficulties
- Swallowing difficulties
- Changes in thinking or behavior
- Degenerative conditions
A CT angiogram may be used to diagnose cerebrovascular disorders, such as:
- Blockages in blood vessels
- Narrowing of blood vessels
- Other blood vessel abnormalities
CT imaging may also be used to guide procedures such as surgeries, radiation therapies, and biopsies.
You may be a good candidate for computed tomography if you are having symptoms of a neurological problem or have been involved in an accident. CT scans do expose you to radiation, more so than standard X-rays, so your doctor may recommend another imaging test if you have had several CT scans over time or if you are pregnant.
You may not be a good candidate for CT angiography if you have impaired kidney function or have had a previous allergic reaction to a contrast agent.
- Date of last review: December 28, 2016
- Author: Erin C. Prenger, DO