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A neurological computed tomography scan (CT scan) is a noninvasive imaging test that looks at your brain and spinal cord. CT scans create images using ionizing radiation (X-rays).
Technicians at Dignity Health Central California can diagnose a number of brain and spinal conditions using the latest medical equipment. Find a Doctor for a quality CT scan in Central California:
A CT scan can be used to help diagnose:
A spinal and brain CT scan may be done with or without contrast dye injection. It may be done at the same time as a lumbar puncture procedure (fluid injection), which helps highlight spinal canal structures.
When contrast dye is not used, a CT scan is a noninvasive, painless procedure that takes about 30 to 60 minutes. It can be done in a hospital or an imaging center. You’ll change into a hospital gown and lie on a table that passes through the opening of a computed tomography scanner. You will need to lie as still as possible. If you feel mildly claustrophobic, you can ask to be sedated
If contrast dye is used for your CT scan, you will receive an intravenous (IV) injection. Starting the IV line may be slightly painful. After the contrast dye injection, some people say they feel hot or cold or notice a metallic taste. Report any unusual symptoms to your technician.
If you get a lumbar puncture in addition to a neurological CT scan, you may feel moderate and temporary discomfort as spinal fluid is removed. The overall procedure takes at least an additional hour, possibly more if you need extra time to rest and recover.
A spinal and brain CT scan is considered safe. Technicians will work with your doctors at Dignity Health Central California so that your CT scan is as efficient and comfortable as possible. After your CT scan, you can resume your normal activities.
If you got a lumbar puncture along with your CT scan, your technician will likely ask you to lie on your back for up to an hour after the procedure. When you go home, your doctor may ask that you rest for the next 24 hours. The most common complication of a lumbar puncture is headache. Be sure to let your doctor know if it lasts more than a few hours or if you experience numbness or tingling in your legs, bleeding from the puncture site, or any other unusual symptoms.