How Does a CT Scan Work To Diagnose/Treat Headaches?
The head is a complex structure that contains several interrelated organs, nerves, blood vessels and other systems. Headaches are a common, but often-elusive, medical condition with numerous causes. Secondary headaches are frequently diagnosed with the aid of medical tests like CT scans in order to diagnose the underlying causes of the headache.
What is a CT Scan?
CT (computed tomography) scans combine x-rays with powerful computers to create cross sectional images inside the body. They reveal more information than traditional x-rays and can make clear images of organs and other internal structures.
Some of the benefits of using a CT scan include:
- Painless and non-invasive
- Fast and precise
- Cost effective
- May reduce the need for exploratory surgery
If your headache does not have a clear cause, or comes on suddenly and unexpectedly, your doctor may decide to order a CT scan to help ensure that there is not a serious underlying medical condition.
How Does it Work?
The scan takes multiple, progressive pictures of your head, in cross section. These thin slices can be viewed in succession to see if there are any abnormalities.
The scan can be adjusted to take thinner slices if more detail is needed. The computer records all the slices and allows the doctor to move the images back and forth.
In some cases, you may be given a contrast material to drink in order for certain features to show up more clearly on the scan.
A CT scan can give a clear map of the brain, which helps the doctor spot abnormalities. A CT scan can help diagnose some of the following conditions:
- Blood clots
- Excessive fluid
Because CT scans can be used in real time, they can aid in guiding dentists during delicate brain surgery. CT scans assist with the following procedures:
- Placing stints
- Cauterizing bleeding vessels
- Micro-surgical procedures
Headaches, for the most part, are hard to distinguish from one type to another unless you have experience dealing with them. Sudden onsets or headaches that do not fit your typical pattern may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.
Using advanced medical techniques and treatments, doctors can make a clear diagnosis between primary and secondary headaches. A CT scan is a key technology in use today for headache diagnosis and headache treatment and their underlying causes. Contact iHATEheadaches for more information.