CT Scan useful for detecting brain mets? - 1264738

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CT Scan useful for detecting brain mets? - 1264738

Hi Cancergrace,
My sweetie is showing symptoms of his neuro disorder. I wanted an MRI but the neuro ordered a CT of his brain saying for his purposes a CT was sufficient. Just curious if CT can detect mets if present? We haven't gotten results yet. CT was done earlier this afternoon and disk fedexed to neuro since not local.

Many thanks in advance. Don't know where I'ld be without cancergrace!

Reply To: CT Scan useful for detecting brain mets?

CT brain is primarily used to look for grossly abnormal situations; like bleeding or severe swelling in the brain.
When CT brain is used with IV contrast, then it can provide a reasonable look at whether significant metastases are present.

The definitive test for most neurologic disorders is a high-quality MRI brain with IV contrast. The brain is 'expensive real estate' - even a small spot can sometimes cause a focal problem depending on the location. Also, subtle findings indicative of neurologic disorders are often missed on plain CT head. CT head is easier to order, cheaper, and faster, but MRI definitely provides more information.

In general, I prefer to use MRI brain, whenever possible.

Dr West
Reply To: CT Scan useful for detecting brain mets?

I completely agree, but as Dr. Creelan notes, a brain CT can at least detect more obvious findings. The key point is that an MRI is more sensitive, particularly for subtle findings, but a brain CT will still pick up anything major.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education