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A neurological computed tomography scan (neurological CT scan) is used create pictures of the brain and spinal cord to help doctors diagnose neurological conditions. It uses noninvasive X-rays (ionizing radiation) to make the images.
Dignity Health North State neurologists are leaders in their field. Our patients benefit from this expertise and a team approach that offers the highest level of care to every person we treat. Find a Doctor with expertise in neurological CT scan at one of our Northern California locations:
Neurological CT scans are used to help diagnose a range of conditions, including:
At the beginning of the test, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie down on a table. The table will move through the open end of a computed tomography scanner. You will need to stay as still as possible during the test. If you feel claustrophobic during the procedure, you can ask to be sedated.
Neurological CT scans may or may not require the injection of contrast dye. Sometimes, they are done in conjunction with a lumbar puncture procedure, which involves the injection of fluid that helps highlight the structures of the spinal canal.
When contrast dye is used, you will receive an intravenous (IV) injection. The dye causes some people to notice a metallic taste or feel hot or cold. If you are uncomfortable or have unusual symptoms, be sure to tell your technician.
Without contrast dye, a neurological CT scan is a painless, noninvasive procedure that takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
A neurological CT scan is a very safe procedure that does not require recovery time. If you had an IV placed for the injection of contrast dye, it will be removed after the test.
If your neurological CT scan included a lumbar puncture, you will need to lie flat on your back for about an hour afterward. Your doctor may recommend rest for the next day or so. Headache is the most common complication of a lumbar puncture. Tell your doctor if it lasts for more than a few hours of if you have bleeding from the puncture site, tingling or numbness in your legs, or any other unexpected symptoms.
Neurological CT scans can help your doctor make a diagnosis and start treatment faster. Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have about this or any other diagnostic testing.