Lumbosacral spine CT

Lumbosacral Spine CT

A lumbosacral spine CT scan is a type of imaging test that uses X-rays to take cross-sectional pictures of the anatomy of the lower back. It is a valuable diagnostic tool for doctors to investigate lower back pain.

Preparation for Lumbosacral Spine CT

Patients typically do not need to prepare for a lumbosacral spine CT scan. It does not require fasting or sedation, but you may want to empty your bladder before the test to ensure accurate results. During the test, you should lie still on a medical table, as any movement can blur the images.

Procedure for Lumbosacral Spine CT

A lumbosacral spine CT scan is usually conducted in the radiology department of a hospital. During the procedure, you will lie on an examining table, and a special X-ray device will be positioned on the targeted area. You may be asked to hold your breath briefly while the X-ray emits a series of small doses of radiation. Images of up to 32 slices of the lumbosacral spine can be captured in a series.

Types of Lumbosacral Spine CT

There are two types of lumbosacral spine CT. The first type is the standard 2 dimensional (2D) CT scan and the other type is the 3 dimensional (3D) CT scan. The 2D CT scan provides detailed images of a cross-sectional area and can be viewed from various angles. The 3D CT scan provides more detailed images, including images from any angle.

Risks of Lumbosacral Spine CT

Generally, CT scans are considered safe and carry minimal risks. Some patients may experience discomfort or pain due to the positioning of their body on the medical table. The radiations emitted during the scan are minimal and will not cause any harm. However, if you are pregnant or have a pacemaker, make sure to speak to a medical professional before proceeding.

Why Do a Lumbosacral Spine CT?

A lumbosacral spine CT scan can be useful to investigate lower back pain. It can provide a detailed view of the hard and soft tissues of the lower spine to look for any irregularities or abnormalities. The 3D CT scan can be used to accurately pinpoint the location of any suspected problems, such as fractures, herniated discs, or tumors. It can also reveal any accompanying nerve compression.

When Do I Need a Lumbosacral Spine CT?

A lumbosacral spine CT is generally recommended if other imaging tests, such as an X-ray, do not provide sufficient results. It is important to note that a CT scan is not typically recommended for the evaluation of lower back pain unless it is suspected to be caused by a serious condition such as a tumor or fracture. However, your doctor may decide to use a spine CT in any of the following scenarios:

  • When imaging tests such as MRI and X-ray have not provided the necessary information
  • To monitor the progress of a condition following a treatment plan
  • To evaluate a particularly complicated case
  • To investigate pain that lasts more than three months
  • To diagnose spinal nerve compression
  • To investigate suspected infections, fractures, tumors, or blood clots