Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Spine
How To Prepare
Before the CT scan, tell your doctor
- Are or might be pregnant.
- Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine
- Have a heart condition, such as
diabetes or take metformin (Glucophage) for your
diabetes. You may have to adjust your medicine for a day before and
after the test.
- Have had kidney
- Have had
- Have had an X-ray test using barium
contrast material (such as a
barium enema) in the past 4 days. Barium shows up
on X-ray films and makes it hard to see the picture clearly.
very nervous in small spaces. You need to lie still inside the CT scanner, so
you may need a sedative to help you relax.
Arrange for someone to take you home in case you get a
sedative for the test.
Talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for
the test, its risks, or how it will be done. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A CT scan is usually done by a
radiology technologist. The pictures are usually read
doctor (radiologist). Other doctors also may review a CT scan.
may need to take off any jewelry. You will need to take off all or most of your
clothes, depending on which area is studied. You may be able to wear your
underwear for some scans. You will be given a gown to use during the
During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to
the CT scanner.
table slides into the round opening of the scanner, and the scanner moves
around your body. The table will move while the scanner takes pictures. You may
hear a click or buzz as the table and scanner move. It is very important to lie
still during the test.
During the test, you may be alone in the
scanning room. But the technologist will watch you through a window. You
will be able to talk to the technologist through a two-way intercom.