Lumbosacral spine CTDefinition:
A lumbosacral spine CT is a computed topography of the lower spine and surrounding tissues.
Alternative Names: Spinal CT; CT - lumbosacral spine
How the test is performed:
The CT is performed with the patient lying face-up.
In some cases, an iodine-based contrast dye may be injected into a vein to help visualize tissues. In other cases, a CT of the lumbosacral spine may be performed after injecting contrast dye into the spinal canal during a lumbar puncture , to further check for pressure on the nerves.
The scan will usually last a few minutes.
How to prepare for the test:
The patient should remove all jewelry or other metals that may cause inaccurate images.
How the test will feel:
The x-rays are painless. The primary discomfort may be from the need to lie still on the table.
If a contrast dye is given through a vein, you may initially feel a slight burning sensation in the injected arm, a metallic taste in the mouth, and a warm flushing of the body. These sensations are normal and usually disappear within a few seconds.
Why the test is performed:
A CT scan is an excellent tool for evaluating fractures and degenerative changes of the spine (such as from arthritis). MRI is a superior exam for imaging the spinal cord and intervertebral disks.
What abnormal results mean:
Conditions that may be revealed include:
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed include osteomalacia .
What the risks are:
- Iodine is the usual contrast dye. Some patients are allergic to iodine and may have a reaction, including hives , itching , nausea , breathing difficulty , or other symptoms.
- As with any x-ray examination, radiation is potentially harmful. Consult your health care provider about the risks if multiple CT scans are needed over a period of time.
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult their health care provider about the risk of CT scans to the fetus.
|Review Date: 10/25/2006|
Reviewed By: Stuart Bentley-Hibbert, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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