When we use the old phrase declaring someone “needs to have his head examined,” we don’t usually think of the Radiology Department. However, if that phrase is meant literally, a facility, such as The Radiology Clinic, is the best possible place for an examination because of great advances made in regards to imaging the brain. While traditional x-rays give an overview of bony structures, CT and MRI are the modalities of choice when doctors need to see inside the head. There’s some overlap in what each method covers, but both produce excellent images and have practical application.

CT—Computed Tomography

CT is often chosen as the first method for a non-invasive study of the brain. There are many scenarios when time is of the essence. Patients arrive with head trauma or symptoms of a stroke, and the team needs to act fast. CT is the best choice for these tests because the procedure is faster than MRI. The quick speed in acquiring images from a CT scan also allows less opportunity for patient motion. Another benefit of the speed of CT is that it requires less time for the patient to be in the CT room and gives more time for urgent treatment that the patient might need.

A CT scan is performed when patients have head trauma, symptoms of a stroke, sudden onset of a severe headache or migraine, and signs that indicate a brain tumor. It’s also used when bony structures call for a closer look in cases such as facial bone trauma or sinus cavity evaluation. There are times when CT is utilized because a patient has a metal device like a pacemaker, which precludes the use of MRI.

MRI—Magnetic Resonance Imaging

One of the clear advantages of MRI is that the patient isn’t exposed to ionizing radiation. MRI scans provide greater detail than a CT scan. There is the ability to differentiate between soft tissues and more readily pick out a suspicious area. MRI has the capacity to see around shadows cast by the bones of the skull.  MRI is more sensitive for certain processes including strokes. The precision of MRI images takes time to obtain. It’s important that patients remain still throughout the procedure.

MRI has many purposes. It can be utilized to determine the cause of epilepsy or seizures. It helps assess patients with multiple sclerosis and developmental anomalies. In the same manner as CT, MRI can diagnose brain tumors and determine the area of the brain affected by a stroke. MRI demonstrates other areas of the head like the inner ear, the eyes, and the pituitary gland.

The Radiology Clinic

Whether the doctor orders a CT or an MRI, The Radiology Clinic has a highly trained professional team that schedules these exams, performs them on state-of-the-art equipment, and follows through to assure continuity of care.  The Radiology Clinic’s board certified fellowship trained neuroradiologists make prompt and accurate diagnoses to help patients receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner.  Please call 301-217-0500 to schedule your imaging study.