CT of the thoracic spine — that will show?
For a long time, computed tomography is inferior to MRI in visualization of soft tissues and was used mainly for diagnosis of bone pathology. However, modern CT scanners allow you to examine soft tissue without compromising the data quality of a magnetic resonance apparatus. Therefore, CT scan of the thoracic spine, and cervical, is used widely as MRI.
The spine plays an important function to the human body, being not only support and protection for internal organs, but also a reliable framework for the spinal cord. The spinal cord passes through the occipital hole of the skull, continues throughout the cervical and thoracic spine. The lumbar and sacral divisions contain only nerve fibers (pony tail) emerging from the spinal cord to the pelvic organs and limbs, therefore, pathological processes in the cervical and thoracic spine can have serious, sometimes life threatening, consequences.
Modern CT scanners allow you to detect almost any abnormality of the spine at any stage of the process.
Spondylitis (inflammation of the bone tissue of the vertebra) and discite (inflammation of the intervertebral discs) can develop after a previous surgical intervention on the spine, as a result of injury, and to develop during the transfer of infection by hematogenous (through the blood) of lesions in other organs.
They are specific (tuberculous, syphilitic) and nonspecific (bacterial, fungal). CT of the thoracic spine, and cervical, are extremely important for early diagnosis of this disease, as the destruction of the vertebra may injure spinal cord and cause severe dysfunction of the limbs and internal organs. With early detection of disease, it is amenable to complete cure.
Injuries of the spine in the thoracic and cervical region is very dangerous spinal cord injury because they lead to injuries and even tearing of the brain, the result may be a disruption of vital organs and even death.
CT of the thoracic and the cervical spine allows to identify the plane of the fracture, muscle tears and ligament as well as damage to the spinal cord.
Cancer processes, both benign and malignant, can develop into bone and cartilage structures of the cervical and thoracic spine, as well as to grow from the tissue of the spinal cord and its membranes. While CT can detect even small tumor size, and to determine the exact location and distribution of process, and invasion in the adjacent organs and metastasis to lymph nodes.
Equally important is the identification of tumors of neighboring organs (mediastinum and muscle), which can also be seen during CT of the thoracic spine, as their growth and metastasis can disrupt the spinal cord. Can the vertebrae be detected and the distant metastasis of tumors.
In addition to the above pathological processes, tomography is used:
- to detect destructive diseases (osteochondrosis, spondylosis) of the thoracic and cervical spine;
- for the diagnosis of intervertebral hernias;
- before surgery to determine the tactics of surgical treatment;
- after the operation for monitoring the effectiveness of treatment and recovery processes;
- to identify the difficult posture.
Contraindications to study
X-rays, including computed tomography, is completely contraindicated for women during pregnancy and lactation. Children imaging is performed only for serious reasons. Overweight people, weighing over one hundred and thirty pounds may not fit in the installation.
A study with contrast is not carried out in allergic reactions to contrast drugs and iodine, renal failure, diabetic nephropathy, and diseases of the thyroid gland.
The advantages of CT before MRI
Currently CT scanners can provide comparable with MRI as a diagnostic tool, while CT has a number of advantages:
- the duration of the study, when computer tomography is several times shorter than the MRT;
- diagnosis is quick and there is a closed chamber (tunnel) that allows you to study some patients with claustrophobia and substantially increases the allowable limit of body weight of the patient;
- the quality of the data does not depend on outer and inner metal structures and electronic appliances;
- the cost of studies is significantly lower than magnetic resonance imaging.