Benefits vs Risks of a Spine CT
Spine CT Benefits
- Spinal CT scanning is a rapid procedure and offers an accurate evaluation of bone and most soft tissues. Using the latest equipment, the spine may be displayed in multiple planes and three-dimensional imaging is an option.
- CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
- A major advantage of CT is its ability to image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
- Unlike conventional X-rays, CT scanning provides very detailed images of many types of tissue as well as the lungs, bones and blood vessels.
- CT examinations are fast and simple; in emergency cases, they can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly to help save lives.
- CT has been shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
- CT is less sensitive to patient movement than MRI.
- CT can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, unlike MRI.
- CT imaging provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspirations of many areas of the body, particularly the lungs, abdomen, pelvis and bones.
- A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.
- No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
- X-rays used in CT scans usually have no side effects.
Spine CT Risks
- There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
- The effective radiation dose from this procedure is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in two years.
- Women should always inform their physician and x-ray or CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
- Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after contrast material injection before resuming breast-feeding.