Spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) CT scan


What is a CT scan of the Spine?

CT of the spine is an X-raybased procedure in which images (pictures) are taken of the bones and soft tissue of the following areas: cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (middle back) and lumbar spine (lower back).



How do I prepare for the exam?

Arrive 20 minutes prior to exam time.There is no preparation for this exam. Patients should come in wearing comfortable clothing with no metal in the area to be scanned. Patients having their cervical spine scanned will need to remove all earrings, facial piercings and necklaces.

Patients that have had plain X-rays, or other procedures on the body part to be scanned should bring those films with them if they were done at another facility. Please note that the films will need to remain at Newton-Wellesley until the Radiologist has read the CT scan.


What will happen during the exam?

If the patient is having a Cervical Spine scan, the patient will be positioned on their back with their head in either a special holder or on a small cushion. The patient will enter the scanner headfirst. The table will move in and out of the large circle and the images will be taken. It is very important to hold still.

If the patient is having a Thoracic or Lumbar Spine scan, the patient will be positioned on their back with their arms raised over their head. The patient will enter the scanner (a large circle) feet first. The table will move in and out of the large circle as the images are being taken. It is very important to hold still. There may be some breathing instructions during the scan, which the technologist will review with the patient prior to the scan.

 


How long will the procedure take?

Depending on the scan to be done, and the complexity of the exam requested the scan could take 10-20 minutes.


What will happen after the exam?

After the exam, the technologist will process your images using a computer. A Radiologist will evaluate the images within 24 hours and dictate a report. A transcription of the report will be typed and sent to your physician.


How will I learn the results?

You will get the results of the exam from your doctor.

Important: If there is any possibility that you are PREGNANT or NURSING a baby, please speak with your referring physician before your scheduled appointment.

 

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