A CAT or CT scan is a diagnostic imaging application that is used by your physician to better understand what is happening in your body. The "CT" stands for computerized tomography, which creates images of horizontal sections of your body. The images are similar to horizontal photographic slices of the body. Thus, details of the internal structure of any targeted area can be studied. 

The CT scan combines computerized technology with x-rays. When a CT scan is taken, x-rays are taken in a circular pattern around the body.Thus, varying views of the same structure or organ can be obtained from one scan. Once the information form the x-rays is captured, it is interpreted by a computer that presents an image on a screen.

Sometimes, your physician will have you ingest a substance, which is called contrast,  to help enhance the visibility of a certain area of the body on the scan. A scan with contrast may also be obtained by injecting a substance into an IV.

CT scans are often used to study or review the brain, especially if injury or disease is suspected. Here are a few reasons that your physician may order a CT scan of your brain:

Tumors and Lesions

A CT scan can be used to locate tumors or lesions in the brain. A tumor, which is a cancerous growth, may not be evident when you look at a person. Although, some brain tumors that are near  the surface of the brain can cause a distortion of the facial or cranial structure, many do not. Still, early detection of a tumor is imperative.

As a growth in the brain increases in size, the tumor applies more pressure on the brain. This may result in problems with cognitive function, speech and motor skills. In addition, the increased pressure may cause headaches, seizures, behavioral changes, vertigo and nausea. The presentation of these symptoms may incite your physician to request a CT scan of your brain.

Head Injuries

If you suffer a concussion, your doctor may order a CT scan to determine the extent of your injuries. The CT scan will display areas of swelling and even intracranial hemorrhaging that could necessitate surgery.

Blood Clots

The doctor may also review your brain for blood clots if you have had a history of hypertension or if others in your family have suffered strokes. Blood clots may also develop from trauma to the brain.

If you are scheduled to receive a CT scan of your brain and are concerned about the reason for the procedure, schedule a consultation with your physician to discuss your concerns. Contact a practice, such as Kinston Medical Specialists PA, if you suspect problems with your brain.