Cisternogram (CSF Study)

The cisternogram looks for hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities called ventricles inside the brain. CSF is produced in the ventricles, circulates through the ventricular system, and is absorbed into the bloodstream.

CSF is in constant circulation and has many important functions. It surrounds the brain and spinal cord and acts as a protective cushion against injury. CSF contains nutrients and proteins necessary for the nourishment and normal function of the brain. It also carries waste products away from surrounding tissues.

Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of CSF that is produced and the rate at which it is absorbed. As the CSF builds up, it causes the ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase.

Test Preparation

None, but please check with your physician whether you need to stop your blood thinners.

Exam Procedure

This test will involve an injection of a radioactive tracer into the spaces between bones in your spine (you will be given a little medicine to numb the area before injection). Imaging of your head will take place over a number of days.