About the Scan – Spine CT Scan

SMIL performs spine CT scans to detect, or rule out, spinal column damage or abnormalities in patients. Spinal CT scans are also performed to:

  • evaluate the spine before and after surgery.
  • detect various types of tumors in the vertebral column, including those that have spread there from another area of the body (metastases).
  • help diagnose spinal pain. One of the most common causes of spinal pain that may be diagnosed by CT is a herniated intervertebral disc. Occasionally, this diagnosis is made using CT myelography.
  • guide diagnostic procedures such as the biopsy of a suspicious area to detect cancer, or the removal of fluid from a localized infection (abscess).
  • assess for congenital anomalies of the spine.
  • evaluate for spinal injury.

The SMIL technologist will begin your spine CT scan by positioning you on the CT examination table; usually having you lay flat on your back or less commonly, on your side or on your stomach. For children, the CT scanner technique will be adjusted to their size and the area of interest to reduce the radiation dose.

Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed.

The spinal CT scanning is usually completed within 30 minutes.

Learn how to prepare for the scan in the spine CT scan preparations section.

Find out if this procedure is right for you in the benefits and risks of spine CT scan section.

For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.

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