Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Spine
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses
X-rays to make detailed pictures of the
spine and vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine),
upper back (thoracic spine), or lower back (lumbosacral spine).
results usually are ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.
CT scan of the spine
Spinal bones (vertebrae) are
normal in shape, number, and alignment.
The discs and joints that support the spine
The spinal canal is normal in size and
contrast material is used, it flows evenly through the
spinal canal. No narrowing or blockage of the spinal canal is
None of the nerves leaving the spinal cord
are compressed or pinched. No growths or bulges are present.
Spinal bones (vertebrae) are missing,
damaged, or out of alignment.
One or more discs may be damaged. One or
herniated discs are found.
The flow of contrast material through the
spinal canal is restricted or blocked, indicating narrowing of the canal (spinal stenosis).
The vertebrae show signs of
arthritis or bone problems caused by
A condition that has been present from
birth (congenital condition) is present in the spine or the vertebrae.
spinal tumor is found.
What Affects the Test
The following may stop you from
having the test or may change the test results:
- Pregnancy. CT scans are not usually done during
- Barium used for another test. Barium shows up on a CT scan. If a CT scan of the lower back is needed, it
should be done before any tests that use barium, such as a
- Metal objects in the body.
These items, such as surgical clips or metal in joint replacements, may prevent
a clear view of the body area.
- You are not able to lie still during
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 05, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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