Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Spine
How It Feels
The test will not cause pain.
The table you lie on may feel hard, and the room may be cool. It may be hard to
lie still during the test.
Some people feel nervous inside the CT
If you get medicine to help you relax or if contrast material is used, you may have an IV put in
your hand or arm. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is started.
The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and give you a metallic taste in
your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or get a headache. Tell the
technologist or your doctor how you are feeling.
If you have
dye put in your back, you may feel a sting or pinch when the needle is put
After a test in which the dye is put in your back, you will be
told to keep your head up and to not bend over or lie flat. This will help
prevent headaches and
The chance of a CT scan causing a problem is
- There is a chance of an
allergic reaction to the contrast material.
- If you have diabetes or take metformin
(Glucophage), the dye may cause problems. Your doctor will tell you when to
stop taking metformin and when to start taking it again after the test so you
will not have problems.
- You may have nausea or vomiting after the test.
is a small chance of an infection at the needle site on your spine or bleeding
into the space around the spinal cord.
- An injection into the space around the spinal cord may
cause a headache. In rare cases, seizures may occur after an injection of contrast material.
- There is a small chance of getting
cancer from some types of CT
scans.1 The risk is
higher in children, young adults, and people who have many
radiation tests. If you are concerned about this risk, talk to your doctor
about the benefits and risks of a CT scan, and confirm
that the test is needed.