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Spine CT – About the Exam

Mountain Medical radiologists perform spine CT imaging to detect or rule out spinal column damage or abnormalities in patients. Spinal CT is 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.

What you can expect during a spine CT:

  • You will be asked to lie on the examination table, where you will likely be positioned on your back.
  • The table will start moving, first slowly and then relatively more rapidly when the actual CT is performed.
  • When the spine CT is completed, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation.
  • A spine CT is usually completed within 30 minutes.

Learn how to prepare for a spine CT.

Learn the benefits and risks of spine CT.

Watch the CT - What to Expect Video.