CT of the cervical spine


Computed tomography of the cervical is of great importance in the examination of bone structures, ligaments, and cartilage. This method is indispensable in the study of this anatomical area and allows radial diagnosticians with maximum precision to detect bone changes bodies and processes of the vertebrae at the cervical level.

To determine what radiation study necessary to fulfill the patient: MRI or CT of the cervical spine, it is necessary to clarify the referral diagnosis. If you want to evaluate the condition of the bone structures, it is advisable to carry out a CT scan. If the patient has a suspicion of pathological changes of the spinal cord at the cervical level, a protrusion or hernia of an intervertebral disk undergo magnetic resonance study.

  • traumatic injuries of the cervical region (including suspected fracture of the body or other parts of the vertebrae);
  • suspected tumor of bone structures (benign or malignant);
  • differential diagnosis of hemangiomas of vertebral bodies and signs of degenerative changes;
  • assessment of the degree of displacement of the vertebral bodies relative to each other;
  • search of metastases in the body and processes of the cervical vertebrae;
  • before surgery, for example, about sclerosing hemangioma of a vertebral body;
  • evaluation of the diameter of the spinal canal (if you suspect a stricture);
  • condition after operations on the cervical region (if available in the area of metal construction, which makes it impossible to conduct MRI);
  • cases where there are absolute or relative contraindications to performing MRI.

CT is contraindicated in the following situations:

  • during pregnancy (the pregnant study can only be performed for health reasons, since this radiation method belongs to the group of ionizing, that is, has a pathological effect on the fetus);
  • if you plan to conduct studies with contrast, it is contraindicated in patients with intolerance to iodine-containing drugs.

It should be noted that patients suffering from obesity, computed tomography could not be performed in cases when the weight of the human body exceeds the allowable weight for this machine.

Advantages of computer-tomographic method

Due to the fact that in CT apply ionizing x-ray radiation, so this radiation method can be compared with x-rays. It should be noted that the informative value of spiral CT of the cervical spine to identify pathological bone changes ten times higher than normal rentgenissledovany. This is because when imaging the image the interested area in three planes: axial, frontal and lateral. Therefore, it is possible to produce a 3D reconstruction of the scanned area.

Another advantage is painless and non-invasive procedure for the patient. Given a scan with a fairly high speed for a very short period of time, radiation exposure to the patient is small (when performing radiography in multiple projections of the radiation dose can be more).

It should be noted that multidetector CT is used primarily in cases of emergency, to survey critically ill. While scanning the area of interest occurs within a few seconds. The result of this study obtained an image of very high quality, which helps doctors make a correct conclusion about the patient’s condition. Obtaining three-dimensional reconstructions of the studied region, no doubt this helps.

How to prepare for the study

The fact that this diagnostic procedure does not need any preparation of the subject. Only if the patient expressed pain syndrome, the study is performed after preliminary anesthesia. This will allow the patient to feel more comfortable and relaxed, to lie during a scan without any unnecessary movements that will allow you to obtain a tomogram with a high resolution.

Before the examination the patient is recommended to be removed from the neck area all metal objects, to exclude the possibility of artifacts.

What you need to know examined on CT of cervical region

Before an imaging study rentgenkabinet explains to the patient the method. Says that he will need to go on a tripod for testing.

Note! To get quality image of the scanned area, you must lie still, performing all instructions of medical personnel.

I want to emphasize that patients are unconscious, unable to make involuntary movements during the scanning, which will affect the quality of the computer tomograms.

If necessary (for example, differential diagnosis of tumors) study is performed with contrast.

CT clearly shows the condition of the bodies, arches and processes of the cervical vertebrae, worse – the ligaments and intervertebral discs.

In conclusion, we can say that CT of the cervical spine is a modern radiotherapy technique, which is crucial in detecting bone pathological changes. I should add that it is with high diagnostic accuracy shows how traumatic and neoplastic changes.

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