Cranial CT Scans Explained
What is a cranial CT scan?
A cranial CT scan is an accurate test to delineate brain structures and can identify brain matter, arteries, veins, cerebrospinal fluid filled ventricles and the bony architecture of the skull.
When would you need a cranial CT?
A cranial CT is used to accurately identify conditions involving the head such as:
- Brain tumours
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Intracranial bleeding (including subarachnoid, intracerebral, extradural and subdural haemorrhage)
- Bone disruption
- Fracture following trauma
It can also be useful to identify embolic or haemorrhagic causes of stroke, certain infections such as encephalitis and degenerative signs of ageing.
How is a cranial CT performed?
A cranial CT scan of the head is performed in the radiology department scanning room, with the patient lying flat (supine) on a CT table.
The head is placed in a comfortable ‘docking pillow’ and the specialised CT scanner rotates in a gantry above the patients head.
In order to prevent unnecessary irradiation of the orbits and especially the lenses, head CTs are performed at an angle parallel to the base of the skull.
Slice thickness may vary, but in general, it is between 5 and 10 mm for a routine head CT.
Intravenous contrast is not routinely used, but may be useful for evaluation of tumors, cerebral infections, and in some cases for the evaluation of stroke patients.
- Blood Test (venesection)
- Intravenous Cannulation
- Lumbar Puncture (LP)
- Cervical Spine CT
- Carotid Doppler Ultrasound Scan
- Heart Ultrasound Scan (Echocardiogram)
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Also known as
- CT brain
- Head CT
- CT Head
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.