Head CT scan

Head CT Scan

A head CT scan is an imaging test used to look at your brain and skull. It’s also called a computed tomography (CT) scan or a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan. It takes images of the head from different angles and combines them into detailed images.


Before the scan you may be asked to remove your clothes and jewelry and put on a patient gown. Women may be asked to remove bras or bras with metal underwires. On the day of the scan you may be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything until the scan is complete.


You will lie still on a table and the scan machine will move around your head. The scan usually takes 5-10 minutes. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan. You may also be asked to stay still for a few more minutes after the scan to ensure the best results.


  • Non-contrast CT scan
  • Contrast-enhanced CT scan
  • Spiral CT scan
  • Multislice CT scan
  • High-resolution CT scan
  • Virtual CT scan


The radiation used for CT scan may increase your risk of developing cancer. However, the risk is small compared to the potential benefits of the scan.

Why and When to get a Head CT Scan?

Head CT scans are usually ordered to diagnose medical conditions such as strokes, tumors, aneurysms and bleeding in the brain. They can be used to evaluate head trauma or injury, seizure activity, brain inflammation and infection, headaches, and to diagnose several conditions that affect the facial bones.

Follow-up Care

Once the scan is complete, you can usually resume your normal activities. Your doctor will explain the scan results to you and discuss any follow-up care or tests that might be needed. Follow-up tests may include MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), X-ray, or ultrasound.