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Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Head CT Scan


 shaz29 - Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:56 am

Hi I'm male 32, this is the second time i'm writing this because the other post got deleted for some unknown reason, anyway i have been experiencing headaches for the past 4 weeks, they are similar to to tension types, where the pain is in my temples and forehead and sometimes on the back of my head, i got very worried because they were not going away so i went to see my dr and he said its nothing to worry about, but i told him i am worried and asked to be refered for a ct scan.. i went for my ct scan yesterday, it took about 5 mins, they did not use any contrast dye.. my question is, is it not normal procedure to use a contrast dye when looking for tumors or aneurysms? Can a tumor or aneurysm show up in a CT scan without using a contrast dye? My worry is that the radiographers just wouldnt to get me out of the way and just did a quick scan without the dye. Now i'm worried something maybe missed because the dye was not used.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:36 pm

User avatar Hi Shaz29,

Sorry for the deletion of your first post. We had some technical difficulties.

You are correct that using contrast is better for detecting a tumor or aneurysm. An MRI would give even better imaging for a tumor.

Even without contrast, there are other signs that can be evaluated for with the CT scan.

If there is concern, you can discuss with your doctor whether or not you need another scan.

Best wishes.
 shaz29 - Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:21 am

thanks for the reply, but my question is, would the scan without contrast still be good enough to detect a tumor or aneurysm?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:57 pm

User avatar Large tumors will still be picked up by CT scans without contrast. Aneurysms will be much more difficult to see without contrast, as will small tumors.

If there is concern for these, a contrast CT or contrast MRI really is superior to a non-contrast study.

Best wishes.
 shaz29 - Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:13 am

thanks, i went to see my gp yesterday and he told me that a tumor and aneurysm can be detected without contrast because they would push the brain slightly if they were present.. does this sound correct? anyway i don't have any tumor type symptoms.. all i have are tension type headaches and slight lightheadedness.. my gp said its stress and anxiety related.. would you agree?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:42 pm

User avatar This is true if the tumor or aneurysm is large enough. Small tumors can be missed on non-contrast CT scan. Aneurysms are going to be much harder to see without contrast because they tend not to be large enough to cause mass effects and push things around.

I would agree that, based on what you've described, your headaches sound like tension-type headaches.

Bes wishes.
 shaz29 - Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:05 pm

Hello Dr, just an update on this, I had am MRI and an MRA done yesterday, the consultant said that everything was clear, but he said that i had a slight kink in one of my blood vessels, i got abit worried but he said that everyone is unique and its just the way i was made and have probably had it like this all my life (i'm 33 now), he said it would not be a threat to my health.. how true is this? I already suffer from health anxiety and i don't want to be stressing about this too.. please advise if its dangerous or not?

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