Skull tomography: how is it made and what is it for?

Expert answer:

Skull tomography allows you to view the brain, neck, sinuses, ear, jaw, and bones of the face, diagnosis of various diseases.

The examination is indicated in cases (or suspected) of head trauma, brain tumor, aneurysm, stroke, infection, hydrocephalus, headaches, epileptic seizures, nodules, changes in behavior or personality, among others.

Computed tomography of the skull is performed with the patient lying flat on the stomach and with the head resting on an appropriate backrest to remain immobile during the examination. The arms can be stretched to the side of the body or positioned on the abdomen.

During the examination, the table on which the patient is lying down slides back and forth between the tomography apparatus, which is in the form of a ring. O tomograph emits x-rays that cross the skull and are picked up by a scanner, providing well-detailed images of the head.

The scan is done without anesthesia and the person stays awake throughout the procedure, which lasts at most 10 minutes. CT scans do not cause any type of pain, as well as traditional X-ray examinations.

You may need to use contrast, which serves for the doctor to be able to better visualize some structures or lesions that are more visible with the contrasted substance, such as tumors and brain abscesses.

The contrast is usually injected directly into a vein in the hand or arm through a small needle and is usually excreted in the urine within 24 hours.

The contrast media may cause some reactions and side effects in some people, such as malaise, indisposition, nausea, itching and redness. However, these signs and symptoms are usually mild and disappear spontaneously in a short time. Allergic reactions to contrast are rare.

It takes 4 hours of fasting to take the exam. Usual medications should not be discontinued unless you are diabetic and take medications with metformin, such as Diaformin, Glucoformin and Glifage. In such cases, it is necessary to suspend medication in the 24 hours before and after CT scan.

You also need to inform the doctor in case of kidney problems, use of a pacemaker or other implanted device.

For further clarification on the procedure and possible risks of cranial tomography, speak with the doctor who requested the CT scan or the radiologist who is responsible for the examination.

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