Computed tomography of the spine
Mar 05, 2018
Computed tomography is the most high-tech and modern method of diagnosis, which, in its ability to recognize diseases by several steps, has surpassed the conventional X-ray examination.
Step by step we will analyze the CT of the spine and its advantages in comparison with other types of examinations.Table of contents: Computer tomography of the spine, what is this method of research What is the computer tomography of the spine? Indications for carrying out a computer tomography of the spine Contraindications to the computer tomography of the spine Preparation for examination How is CT of the spine carried out What allows to find the CT of the spine Spiral computed tomography of the spine
Computer tomography of the spine, what is this research method?
The essence of this procedureis the "transmission" X-rays are interested in medical areas of the body surrounding the spine.Then the processing of data on the computer by special programs takes place.In this case, the physician can see the dynamics of the process on the monitor screen and record the entire diagnostic process to the available memory device.This allows you to repeatedly view the information received for the purpose of clarification and discussion with colleagues.
What is computerized tomography of the spine
The CT method promotes a more detailed assessment of the state of bone and cartilaginous structures of the spine, vessels and nervous tissue, and recognizes the pathological processes taking place in them.Most often, the study is used in the practice of traumatology to detect, confirm, or vice versa, to exclude injuries to the spine.Also, computed tomography reveals the phases of degenerative diseases of the spine, early oncological processes, hardly noticeable by other diagnostic examinations.
Video "CT Anatomy and CT Scanning Techniques":
Indications for computed tomography of the spine
The examination is scheduled by the attending physician after a thorough examination of the patient, collection of the medical history, preliminary diagnostic procedures.The need for CT application must be strictly justified.It can not be carried out often.
The patient needs to be evaluated for:
- for the specification of the volume and method of surgical intervention on the spine, surrounding tissues and organs;
- control performed operation on the spinal column and nearby anatomical formations;
- confirmation of an existing cancer, or suspected of it;
- detection of metastatic foci;
- recognition of intervertebral hernias and complications caused by them;
- revealing osteoporosis of bone tissue;
- detection of congenital anomalies of the spine;
- finding of metabolic, dystrophic and degenerative processes in the bone structures of the spinal column, arthrosis, inflammatory changes in the intervertebral articulations( arthritis);
- ascertaining the fact of injuries and vertebral fractures;
- diagnosis of infectious diseases occurring in the spinal cord, purulent complications( abscesses);
- finding diseases that cause severe pain with an unclear cause;
- specification of the volume of injuries in back injuries, accompanied by a violation of the integrity of the spine, fractures and deformities;
- measuring the density and uniformity of bone structures.
Contraindications to the computed tomography of the spine
The examinee should tell the doctor about his illnesses in order to prevent the negative impact of the procedure on health.
What can be a limitation to CT?Absolute contraindications do not exist.But, nevertheless, there are diseases and conditions that can introduce corrections in the appointment procedure.
Special care should be taken if the patient has:
- Decompensated heart disease;
- congenital and acquired heart defects, acute myocardial infarction;
- state of hypertensive crisis;
- disorders of cerebral circulation in an acute period;
- is a severe form of bronchial asthma with frequent attacks of suffocation;
- complicated diabetes mellitus;
- advanced forms of liver and kidney disease with complications;
- thyroid disease with obvious clinical manifestations and laboratory abnormalities;
- allergic diseases with severe clinic( angioedema);
- severe mental illness with inadequate reactions;
- chronic alcoholism and drug addiction in the acute phase;
- fear of enclosed space;
- obesity, in which the patient's weight can reach 200 kg, which will not allow him to fit into the narrow aperture of the arc-shaped tomograph( for such patients there is a specially developed technique);
- pregnancy, especially taking place with complications;
Also, computed tomography of the spine is not recommended for infants and young children.The radiation load even in the most modern devices is still present and has a more negative impact on them than on adults.Therefore, the indications for research should be treated more strictly.
How is the CT of the spine
? The examination takes place in the office, protected from ionizing radiation.The patient occupies a supine position on a special moving tomograph table.The position of the test on the back is usually used, but you may need a position on your side or on your stomach.
The stand with the table on which the patient is located will move forward with respect to the emitter and the data receiving detectors.A narrow stream of a source of rays pulses passes through the investigated areas of the body, hits the sensitive surfaces of the sensing sensors and is transmitted to the computer.Next, layered snapshots and video with visualization on the monitor screen are created, with a record for later re-viewing.
The duration of the session is usually 5-30 minutes.The timing will depend on the available pathological abnormalities, which sometimes require a more detailed examination.Analysis of the findings by a specialist usually takes an hour and a half.
Note: The study is absolutely painless for a person, but in the process unpleasant sensations can arise, caused by unusual position, humming of the tomograph, movement of the table, mental features of the person.Therefore, the patient is fixed with special devices to exclude inadequate reactions.
Computerized tomography of the spine can be supplemented by the introduction of a contrast agent into the vascular bed of the patient.This allows you to get detailed information about the arteries of the spine.In this case, sometimes there are unpleasant sensations in the place of injection of the diagnostic solution.In some cases - nausea, the desire to go to the toilet.But these complaints quickly pass.
If the examination is carried out by the child, parents are avoided to avoid fear and crying, and parents who pre-don themselves with radiation protection are allowed to remain near it.
What allows you to find the CT of the spine
You can clearly see all the details on the examination:
- of the developed osteochondrosis - the pathology of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs,
- stenosis of the spinal canal - a disease that most often occurs in the lumbar spine.With it, there is a proliferation of bone formations into the lumen of the canal opening, which can lead to infringement of the spinal cord causing severe pain, impaired sensitivity and movement;
- osteoarthritis - loss of elasticity of cartilage, which is covered with "cracks", roughness and ultimately "erased", which leads to a violation of elasticity, pain, decreased mobility, until complete immobility;
- spondylosis - pathology, located most often in the cervical region.It is expressed by the presence of spiny growths of the degenerate ligaments of the spine, which people incorrectly call "salt deposition".
Spiral computed tomography of the spine
The structure of the human spinal column from the anatomical point of view is very complicated.A large number of bone, articular formations, holes makes it difficult to accurately diagnose diseases.In solving this problem, helical( SCT) and multislice( MSCT) computed tomography are particularly helpful.
The technology of this survey is based on a multiple number of snapshots in the given planes, the directions of which are chosen by the doctor depending on the tasks assigned.Technically, the procedure is provided not only by moving the table with the patient, but also by rotating the radiators and sensors in a spiral, which allows you to take pictures and videos at a qualitatively new level.
Note: with the MSCT of the spine, you can consider very small details of the images in excellent quality, achieved by very thin sections with respect to conventional computed tomography.These slices are thinner by about 10 times.At the same time, a reduction in the radiation load on the patient is achieved.The time spent on the procedure is half that in comparison with CT.
The only drawback of this type of examination is high cost.
Summing up the analyzed material, we note that computed tomography of the spine increasingly displaces the traditional radiographic methods of investigation.Over time, the cost of devices will be reduced, and technology will rise to an even higher level.This will lead to an increase in the quality of diagnostics, the possibility of acquiring devices by all hospitals and eliminating( minimizing) the available x-ray irradiation of patients.
More details on the benefits of computed tomography are described in this video review:Alexander Lotin, radiologist,