ES pain from iodine reaction during CT with contrast

1.) My brother finally had a CT scan yesterday. Although he told the ENT who ordered the test, via his PCP, that Samji specifically wants a CT scan without contrast, the ENT wanted it with, so that’s what his PCP order and it’s what he got.

2.) Brother had a bad reaction to the iodine. Excruciating pain throughout his whole body and terrible pressure in his head like it was going to explode. He’s a tough guy (seriously, really tough) and the tech went ahead and did the scan as he tried not to move in reaction to the incredible pain.

3.). Test done, body pains fade in 30 minutes, but severe head pressure continued for several hours. Couldn’t breathe through his nose (due to swelling?) and huge sinus pressure. Those symptoms released in due course. He is left with the worst jaw pain he’s experienced yet. This guy never complains, but he’s talking about this pain.

A.) I assume the pressure in his head was from swelling. Do y’all have an opinion of whether this possible swelling screwed up the CT scan by showing abnormalities that aren’t generally there; causing exacerbated nerve and jugular/carotid views? IDK.

B.) Since then, his jaw on one side (the side where he feels a foreign object at the back of his throat) has been in terrible pain and he can barely open it more than a finger width or two. The pain was about a two beforehand and is now a 9.99. I’m assuming it’s because the associated nerve was enervated by yesterday’s situation. Do you think that might be the case? If so, I’m wondering if it will slowly fade back to a two on the pain scale or if will stay at a higher level until his fang on that side is removed? I’ve gleaned that ice and OTC pain relievers are his only friend tonight, unless one of you can share another option that worked for you. (I searched via the magnifying glass icon, but couldn’t find specific advice.)

Ideas? Thoughts? Experiences?

*IANAD and I realize neither are you. However shared experiences come with a big gold star :slight_smile:
**Sorry if my questions are sophomoric.
***apologies for the tl/dr

So sorry to hear that your brother’s had such a bad reaction, that’s really rough…it’s not something I’ve ever read about members experiencing before on here. Did he mention to the technician that he was feeling so bad? If so, hopefully they’ll understand that there could be swelling & will take that into account when reading the scan? It’s definitely something to be mentioned to his PCP & ENT so it can be noted on his records.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful, maybe others will have had a similar experience! And hope that the pain settles back down soon…

Hi Pearl,

Dr. Annino in Boston has a great reputation & has helped a number of our members. He may be less picky about CT scans than Dr. Samji. You might consider contacting his office & sending your brother’s CT scan & radiology report to him. Dr. Samji will still accept a CT w/ contrast. He just prefers them w/o because he can see the styloids & stylohyoid ligaments more clearly.

As far as the increased pain since the contrast for the CT scan goes, what you’ve suggested makes a lot of sense. I see your post came in yesterday so I expect you already know what has helped & what hasn’t. With head pressure, sleeping or lying down w/ the head substantially inclined can help relieve the pressure & thus the pain significantly. We recommend people purchase a wedge pillow for post op head elevation when surgery is pending but some of our members have found them useful to help relieve ES symptoms prior to surgery. Dr. Samji recommends 30º of elevation post op for several days to several weeks. Your brother could just use several bed pillows at this point to help w/ head elevation. I purchased my wedge pillow at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $25 some years ago. Costco on the West Coast is currently selling memory foam wedge pillows for $40 that I expect would be much more comfy than the foam one I have.

I hope your brother is feeling much better today.

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Those contrast dyes can be brutal. I once went into anaphylactic shock (seizure) the minute the dye went into my vein. Never again. You CAN refuse the dye. That’s your right.

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Have you had ES surgery? I’m sorry I haven’t kept track of your story. If so, how are you feeling now?

Hello! Nice to hear from you. I had balloon sinuplasty with excellent results. It doesn’t look like the ES surgery will be necessary.


WOW! That’s FANTASTIC news! So glad you were able to get symptoms relief w/ something less invasive than ES surgery! Thank you for popping back in occasionally to contribute to our conversations! Every little bit of information & encouragement helps someone!

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