In patients with neoplasms (e.g., primary or metastatic tumors) or inflammatory conditions (e.g., abscesses, meningoencephalitis, or demyelinating disease), obtaining images after administration of contrast agents can significantly improve the sensitivity and specificity of a study. Contrast agents depict areas with abnormal disruption of the blood-brain barrier, and areas of hypervascularity, such as those associated with tumors, inflammation and vascular malformations. Iodinated contrast is hyperdense on CT, and gadolinium-based contrast results in T1 hyperintensity. Contrast enhancement rarely shows new lesions in children, but often helps to better characterize them. Standard doses are summarized in Table 5.
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