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774736 tn?1311334985

What does a head CT scan and neck xray rule out?

Basically what are doctors able to see and what are they looking for when trying to diagnose using these imaging machines on particular areas (Head and Neck). I came in to the ER with neck pain and dizziness and I'm still suffering from it because they were not able to make a clear diagnosis. Do these imaging tests show major problems like meningitis, or blood vessel abnormalities?
2 Responses
1530171 tn?1448133193
Hey newporttttttt,
The million dollar question of the day.
Neuro-radiology is a rather complex field.
The doctors are looking for abnormal characteristics like lesions, vertebral body heights, any signs of deterioration, cysts etc. Dx is NOT easy to say the least. Some people never get a dx! i.e. MS- like symptomatic patients may never get diagnosed as  the findings may not be
100% conclusive, they may be only indicative.
Here's a part of a response I sent to someone having conflicting and confusing explanations from 2 different specialists looking at the same scan films.

"Even with the great advances in diagnostic information through CT scans
and MRIs, the microscopic -as you already mentioned- and the diverse complex nature of various lesions such as the ones you speak of, the exact extend of neuronal involvement and the  findings of characteristics useful for treatment options, can only be confirmed with great accuracy through a histological section.
That involves analyzing the reference tissue structure on a microscope slide the size of 10mcm (micrometers) 1/1.000.000th of a meter! under a powerful microscope.
It is common to have variable or even conflicting opinions, as you can understand."

So, take your time to explore all your options and do not count on a fast and confirmatory dx from your tests and scans. If it happens that's great!
If you wish send me more details and history prior to the onset of
the neck pain and dizziness.
take care,

Avatar universal
Dear Newport, welcome to the medhelp forum. You presented with neck pain and dizziness, so the x-ray neck was done to check for any vertebral and spine issues like spondylolisthesis or slipping of vertebrae due to degeneration or trauma, disc herniation (better visualized on MRI spine), osteoarthritis or trauma. All these can cause nerve root impingement and compression symptoms like tingling, numbness and dizziness due to the spinal canal stenosis. Head CT scan can diagnose conditions like brain infection, tumor, fluid buildup inside the skull, stroke or bleeding in the brain. CT head is also done when there are symptoms of fainting, headaches, brain damage symptoms like vision problems, speaking or swallowing difficulties. These imaging modalities help in the diagnosis based on clinical suspicion. They are used as a guiding aid when the physician has formed a possible impression about the diagnosis on clinical presentation. The results are complementary to other tests. Take care.

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