Head CT

A head CT scan uses x-rays to take detailed images of structures inside your head. The resulting images can provide our radiologists with information about your brain, eyes/orbits, facial bones, skull, nasal passages, sinuses, inner ears, vascular structures, and more.

Reasons for a Head CT Scan

Your doctor may recommend a head CT scan to examine symptoms that suggest brain injury, bleeding, or damage from a stroke, or to investigate treatment options. Common symptoms include fainting, dizziness, hearing loss, change in mental status or behaviour, and others. Head CT scans can also be used to evaluate:

  • Congenital disorders or defects
  • Tumors
  • Fluid build-up
  • Persistent and severe headaches

Scanning for Headaches and Migraines

Head CT scans can also be ordered to investigate lingering headaches or migraines that are difficult to diagnose with traditional neurological exams and patient history.

Your doctor may recommend a head CT if you:

  • Experience severe headaches with tremendous pressure – it feels like something is bursting inside your head.
  • Are 50 years of age or older, and your headaches feel different from those in the past.
  • Get headaches during or after physical activity.
  • Experience headaches with other behavioural symptoms, such as a change in speech, alertness, control, or seizures.
  • Develop severe headaches after head trauma.


A head CT scan generally takes less than 1 minute to perform. Your entire visit should take less than 30 minutes.

Exam Preparation

Being prepared for your head CT scan helps us take the best possible images for diagnosis. Please visit our exam prep page for more instructions specific to head CT preparation.

Joint CT Scan at the Meadowlark Diagnostic Imaging Centre
Head CT Scans Alberta