CT lumbosacral spine


Today osteochondrosis affecting up to 85% of the population of the globe. Just imagine this figure! And who of us runs to the doctor at the first symptoms? Usually, patients turn to the hospital when the pain becomes unbearable and it is impossible to straighten the neck or back. The so-called «shooting» and aching pain is still considered something self-evident and treat such symptoms to the doctor simply self-indulgence. The CT appearance of the lumbar spine situation has not changed: despite the fact that CT is available a method that allows accuracy to determine the cause of such pain patients are not in a hurry to be treated. Is it really so harmless back pain as many tend to think?

Lower back pain: a harmless symptom, or threat warning?

Each of us at least once in their life after a heavy physical exertion in the gym, at the cottage or at home, experienced lower back pain. The fact is that during the evolution of the vertical position of our body came into existence after the formation of the lumbosacral spine. To the effects of the loin were not designed so people with vulnerable lumbosacral Department of spinal discs become thinner, wear out, lose their elasticity. When the intervertebral discs cease to amortize the vertebrae, there are degenerative changes in the bone tissue. Happens the pinched nerves, and one of the adverse consequences is the appearance of herniated discs.

Why is it so important in the early diagnosis of diseases of the spine?

When the first symptoms most patients just mask the pain, applying various ointments or analgesics. But recovery is does not help: the reason is not eliminated, the inflammation and swelling worse. Any disease tends to progression. Problems of the spine with age, not disappear, and worse.

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To date, three methods are key in the diagnosis of diseases of the lumbosacral spine. This is a CT scan of the lumbosacral spine, MRI and plain radiography, is the technique from which to begin examination.

Among these methods, computer tomography occupies a special place: it is better than magnetic resonance imaging shows bone structure and is cheaper and more affordable method. And unlike radiography, CT allows the consideration of the Department of interest in many sections and three dimensions, to build a three-dimensional image.

Indications for this diagnostic method

Usually, the first physician sends the patient for radiography to obtain General information about the condition of the spine. Radiography often does not show the reasons that caused the disease. CT scan of the lumbosacral spine provides more focused information about the following diseases:

  • Fractures and fractures of the vertebrae.
  • Of herniated discs.

  • Bleeding in damage.
  • Low back pain.
  • Rheumatic pathology.
  • Malignant and benign tumors, and invasion of tumors of other organs, metastasis.
  • The narrowing of the spinal canal.
  • Hemorrhage into the spinal cord.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Developmental abnormalities of the spine.
  • Instability of the vertebrae.
  • Spondylosis.

As incredible as it may sound, pathology of the lumbosacral can be associated with disorders of the thoracic segment of the spine. It is because often appointed to a joint survey of these departments in CT that shows a complete picture and allows to establish the relationship, what can not be done in a stand-alone computed tomography of the lower back.

How is the research and whether you want to prepare for it?

Computed tomography without use of contrast agents takes less than five minutes. But today it is rarely used. The best option is multislice computed tomography with contrast and it lasts far longer than conventional CT up to half an hour. During the study, you must keep still, otherwise the images will be blurry. That is why a CT scan is not available to people in serious condition with convulsive disorders, and young children are given a sedative. Computed tomography is painless type of research.

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Preparation for the study of the spine is not required. But if you have CT scan with contrast, it is better to do a light Breakfast, some patients contrast can provoke nausea.

Absolute contraindications to this examination no. Relative contraindications are pregnancy and early childhood. Although it has been shown the harmful effects of CT scan on the fetus has not, doctors are careful of the impact of ionizing radiation on the immature organism.

Is there any difference between MRI and CT?

Many patients do not distinguish between CT and MRI, as I don’t know what each method is better at handling different tasks. MRI – gold standard for imaging soft tissues: cartilage, intervertebral discs, ligaments and so on. Bone structure does not impede imaging of soft tissues when using magnetic resonance imaging. Computed tomography is designed to study primarily bony structures of the spine. Sometimes lower back pain can be caused by urolithiasis, stones CT shows as well. With regard to the study of the vascular system – both tests have to have equal opportunities.

Self-medicate or independently «assigning» themselves diagnostic procedures can only exacerbate the situation. Underestimating the harm done to our body the spine, patients deprive themselves of the right to a healthy back and good health. The survey method should choose a doctor based on complaints and inspection data. CT, like any medical intervention has its spectrum of indications.