CT (computed tomography) of the spine that shows the preparation, conduct, contrast MRI


For the past ten years significantly increased the level of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Sedentary lifestyle of modern man can contribute to the development of many pathologies, including intervertebral hernias that are important to diagnose. One of the methods that allows time to recognize the disease is computed tomography of the spine – study, allow with high accuracy to show all the important structures of the spine.

Fundamentals of computer tomography

CT examination based on the property of x-rays in different ways through human tissue of different density. A special sensor detects the altered rays, converting the received information into the image, which exactly shows all anatomical and structural formations. Imaging of the spine allows us to consider the individual vertebrae and intervertebral discs, to assess the condition of the spinal canal, to identify the hernia and protrusion and to some extent, to explore the spinal cord. High accuracy of the method is based on the ability to scan in various planes and thin slices, showing even the most minor deviations.

  • Developmental abnormalities of the spine.
  • Destructive processes.
  • Tumors in the early stages of development.
  • Of circulatory disorders.

Information obtained during an examination helps doctors to differentiate the disease to plan treatment. The probability of error when performing computed tomography, the minimum method shows the exact result, obtained images to precisely represent the whole picture.

Who are shown the CT scan of the spine?

The vast majority of cases, the doctor directs the patient on the CT back in the case when a plain x-ray may not give enough information for correct diagnosis.

Testimony to the appointment of CT of the spine are:

  • Back pain of uncertain etiology.
  • Assessment of post – traumatic consequences- detection of cracks, fractures and displacement of the vertebrae. Primarily done to detect lesions in the spinal cord.
  • Diagnostics of intervertebral hernia.
  • Suspected spinal stenosis.
  • Osteochondrosis (dorsopathy).
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  • Identification of benign and malignant tumors, assessment of the spread of metastasis.
  • To determine the exact condition of the blood vessels of the spine.
  • Inflammatory or infectious disease.
  • Assessment of bone density in patients with osteoporosis.
  • Identification of malformations of the spine.
  • Diagnosis in preparation for surgery, postoperative control.
  • As an alternative to MRI.

Contraindications to CT scan

Imaging of the spine is considered a safe examination method provided that takes into account all indications and contraindications to the study. These include:

  • Pregnancy, especially first trimester x – ray radiation used for scanning has a harmful effect on the developing fetus. For the diagnosis of hernias of the spine in a pregnant, preferably MRI.

  • Neuropsychiatric disorders, accompanied by hyperkinesis (excessive involuntary movement) – to obtain an accurate picture of the patient should keep perfectly still during the entire examination. Considered to be a relative contraindication, as it is possible to conduct scanning under General anesthesia.
  • The body weight of the patient above 130-150 kg – scanner couch can not withstand more weight.
  • Allergy to the contrast agent in that case, if CT is performed with contrast.
  • Childhood is a relative contraindication, in emergency situations it is possible to conduct scanning.
  • Kidney disease and heart decompensation.

Peculiarities of preparation to the study of the spine

Procedure computed tomography of the spine may require patient preparation simple – scan lower divisions should provide a good overview, and to prepare the bowel. A few days before the procedure should exclude from the diet foods that increase the level of gassing. These include bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy products. Recommended products Fig. Before the examination it is advisable to take the drug from flatulence – this can be «Espumizan». The night before research, you must do a cleansing enema or taking a laxative drug – filled bowel impedes good visualization of the lumbosacral. Done on an empty stomach, it’s advisable to take antispasmodics (e.g., «no-Spa») for removing the active peristalsis of the intestines.

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What happens during the scan?

When carrying out CT examination, the patient lies on his back, on a special mobile couch. In the body of the imager are rotatable around the couch x-ray tubes which generate the rays in a circle scanning the person. The study does not cause any discomfort and takes an average of 20 minutes. It is important to maintain complete immobility, if you have any questions you can contact the staff using the built-in camera microphone.

In that case, if there is a CT with contrast just before the scan the patient is injected intravenously contrast agent. If the procedure is performed for the first time, you need to listen carefully to your own feelings and the appearance of suspicious symptoms immediately to inform the doctor contrast can cause allergic reactions.

How harmful CT scan?

Based on the CT scan is the use of ionizing radiation, which can have a negative impact on the body. It is not recommended to conduct a survey without special indication – exceeding the permissible level of radiation nobody benefits. Pregnant women should refrain from computed tomography and to make a choice in favor of MRI. Lactating women are advised to stop breastfeeding for 48 hours.

Which is better: CT or MRI?

Common question – which method is more informative? Both methods are considered reliable and allow us to diagnose many pathologies, but there are differences between them.

The main difference is the use of different physical and chemical processes for scanning. The basis of MRI is the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance of cells exposed to the electromagnetic field generated by the giant magnets placed in the body of the apparatus. Due to the lack of ionizing radiation MRI is a more secure method. However, its application is much more fit they are all related to a non-metallic elements in the body of the patient.

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In the case studies of the spine CT is more informative than MRI of bone tissue display better x-ray scanning, MRI to a greater extent shows soft tissue. Computed tomography allows accurate to millimeters to estimate the size of the herniated discs.

Noticeable difference in price — MRI is currently much more expensive than CT.

MRI is for studies of the spine pregnant women, children and people recently made the x-rays.