Following a brain injury, clinicians may use imaging tests to see inside the brain. Imaging tests can show abnormalities, such as blood clots or
brain bleeds, as well as show the individual’s actual brain function.
Computed Axial Tomography (CAT or CT)
CAT/CT scans produce cross-sectional pictures to create 3-D brain images that will show the brain's density and any abnormalities,
such as swelling, bleeds (called hematomas), and skull fractures. Though not as sensitive as MRI scans, CT scans take less
time to perform and are typically the first scans taken in the hospital.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Detailed images of the brain that are produced using radio waves and a strong magnetic field. MRI scans typically take longer to
obtain than CT scans, but they are more sensitive and more detailed. They are not typically done in the immediate care or during
the initial treatment after a brain injury.
Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA)
Images blood vessels in brain or body to show blockages or abnormalities.
Images that show skull fracture or broken bones
A test that measures the electrical activity in a person’s brain. This test is usually done to determine the amount of brain activity
and to detect any suspected seizure activity.