Computed tomography (CT) of the sinuses is a special noninvasive X-ray scan used to detect and diagnose health problems in the paranasal sinus cavities (commonly called “sinuses”). The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the bones found behind the cheeks, bridge of nose, and forehead. Sinus CT can help determine if you have sinusitis or other abnormality involving the sinuses.
Although uncommon, your doctor may order a sinus CT with intravenous (IV) contrast. This allows for better visualization of blood vessels and other structures. Please refer to the Computed Tomography section for more details about CT scanning and the associated risks and benefits.
Doctors may order a sinus CT to help evaluate symptoms associated with the sinuses. For example, if you have chronic sinus congestion, sinus CT can help confirm the diagnosis of sinusitis. Disorders of the sinuses that can be evaluated by CT scan include:
Sinus CT may also be recommended when planning for sinus surgery, radiation therapy, or biopsy.
If you are, or think you are pregnant, be sure to notify your doctor or technologist before undergoing a CT scan. The amount of radiation received during a CT scan is unlikely to harm you or your baby. However, in general, CT scans are not recommended in pregnant women. In every case, the mother’s health must be considered as well. The benefit to the pregnant woman of having the CT scan to diagnose an illness may outweigh the small amount of risk to the baby from a low-dose CT scan.
The part of your body being scanned should also be considered. For example, brain CT exposes the unborn baby to little or no radiation. Even if the fetus is directly exposed to CT scan radiation (such as in CT scans of the abdomen or pelvis), the increased risk of developing cancer later in life is one in 1000. Some doctors may recommend another type of exam (ultrasound or MRI) to avoid exposing your baby to radiation.
The ACR states that current information suggests breastfeeding is safe after the use of intravenous contrast. Please discuss your breastfeeding options with your medical provider.
For more information on contrast, please see About CT Contrast.
To schedule a sinus CT scan, please call our scheduling team at (512) 453-6100 or toll free at (800) 998-8214. A provider referral is required to make an appointment.
A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to interpret radiological examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to the provider who referred you to ARA. The physician will then share the results with you. Your report will also be available on the patient portal within 15 days after the exam report is finalized.
If you are getting a CT exam at ARA and want to know...
VACCINES: ARA does not have any publicly available vaccines—we are passing ours along to groups that are set up for public vaccination. We appreciate your understanding.
MASKS: ARA continues to require employees and patients to wear masks at our imaging centers for the safety of all.