CT of the Neck
In This Page:
A CT scan, or CAT scan, is a common term for computerized tomography, a painless diagnostic imaging test that displays two and three dimensional images of internal structures of the body on a computer screen. Cat scan uses a narrow beam of X-rays and high-powered computers to generate images of bones and soft-tissues in the body.
Need to Know
Nice to Know
There are no restrictions placed on you after this procedure. You may eat and drive as normal. If you received an injection of contrast dye, you should drink six to eight glasses of water to flush it out of your system.
Why is This Exam Done?
Your doctor has requested a computed tomography scan (CT) of your brain. CT scans use X-ray technology and advanced computer analysis to create detailed pictures of the neck area. This technology, called cross-sectional imaging, allows the imaging physician to take highly detailed images and to assess your neck for any tumor, masses, or any abnormalities.
What Will Happen During the Exam?
- While positioning you on the exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
- You will be asked to lie flat on your back. Your arms will be positioned at your sides. You will be asked to hold very still.
- If you are receiving contrast, it may be given through an injection in an IV placed in your arm.
- During the injection, you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.
- If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face, please notify the technologist immediately.
- The table you are on will slide into the scanner. Only your head and neck will be covered by the scanner. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.
- The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
- This procedure usually takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
How Should I Prepare?
What to Wear
Please dress in comfortable clothing. Metal objects including jewelry and eyeglasses may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam.
Please take all the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Let our staff know what medications you have taken prior to your exam.
Food and Drink
You should not eat solid foods for two hours prior to your test, if your exam is scheduled with contrast. You may, however, drink plenty of clear fluids, such as water and broth.
If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of CT of the Head and Neck:
- Can provide more detailed, accurate results than traditional x-ray
- Can detect problems/disease earlier
- Involves minimal risks
- Painless, noninvasive and accurate
- Fast and simple
Where Can I Get This Exam?
CT of the head and neck is performed at the locations: