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A neurological CT scan (computed tomography) creates images using X-rays. This noninvasive test is used to look at blood vessels, muscles, bones, and other tissues in your brain and spinal cord.
Dignity Health Southern California offers a full complement of neurology and neurosurgery services, including the latest diagnostic testing. To receive a neurological CT scan in Southern California, use our online Find a Doctor tool and make an appointment today. Our neurological care is based on our mission to provide healing with humankindness, and we are dedicated to caring for you every step of the way on your health journey.
The neurological CT scan test can be used to help diagnose a number of brain and spine conditions, including:
When evaluating the spine, a lumbar puncture procedure (fluid injection) may be performed in conjunction with a CT scan to highlight the structures of the spinal canal.
At Dignity Health, your neurological CT scan will be performed in one of our hospitals or imaging centers by our team of board-certified technicians. When performed without the use of contrast dye, a neurological CT scan is a painless, noninvasive procedure that usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.
During your CT scan, you will lie on a table that slides into a narrow opening in the scanner. Once inside, the scanner takes multiple images from various angles. You will be asked to lie as still as possible during the procedure. If you feel claustrophobic, you can request to be sedated.
If a lumbar puncture is performed in conjunction with the neurological CT scan, the overall procedure will take an additional hour or more, including recovery time.
If contrast dye is used, you will receive an intravenous (IV) injection. Starting the IV line may feel mildly painful. After receiving the contrast dye injection, some people notice a metallic taste or a feeling of warmth or coolness as the dye circulates throughout the body.
The neurological CT scan is considered very safe and does not require any recovery time.
If you had a lumbar puncture along with your CT scan, you may be asked to lay flat on your back for up to an hour after the procedure. Your doctor may also advise you to rest for the next 24 hours.
Headaches are common after a lumbar puncture. However, if you have a headache that last for more than a few hours, or if you experience bleeding from the puncture site, tingling, or numbness in your lower extremities, or any other unusual symptoms, call your doctor.