Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 6, 2020
Your spine is arguably the most complex structure in your body, as a number of different bones, tendons and ligaments all act in unison to help ensure everything moves as it should. Because of this, if you develop back pain, it’s oftentimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s going on based on a description of symptoms and a physical exam. Oftentimes doctors rely on imaging tests to help with their diagnosis, and there’s fewer imaging tests that are more accurate than a CT scan.
What Is A CT Scan?
A CT scan, sometimes referred to as a CAT scan, is a type of imaging test that uses a combination of X-rays and a computer to create pictures of your bones, organs and other tissues in the area. Because of this process, it is much more detailed than a standard x-ray.
CT scans are painless and don’t take very long, and they provide a detailed look at a specific area of your body. When used in the spine, it can highlight bones, tumors, blood vessels and other soft tissues to determine exactly what’s going on in your body. By examining these images, your doctor can come up with both a diagnosis and a preferred treatment plan based on your individual needs.
Spinal CT Scan Benefits
Some of the unique benefits of a spinal CT scan include:
- It’s quick, easy and painless.
- Provides an accurate representation of vital structures.
- It is a cost-effective option compared to other imaging tests.
- It can image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at once.
- Can be used to render 3D models.
- CT scans can be used even if you have implanted medical devices, unlike an MRI.
- Real-time imaging can help provide increased accuracy during needle biopsies.
- Can help to prevent the need for unnecessary surgeries or biopsies.
- No radiation remains in the body once the examination is complete.
As with most things in life, a CT scan is not a perfect system. There are some potential risks associated with the procedure, but they are very minor. Since radiation is used during the procedure there is a minor risk of how radiation exposure could affect your body, and there’s a very rare risk of your body having an adverse reaction to the contrast materials. Expecting mothers or those who are nursing should also bring these topics up with their physician prior to a CT scan, but in the vast majority of cases, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
So if you’ve been dealing with nagging or serious back pain, let Dr. Sinicropi and his team get to the bottom of your discomfort and set you up with a care plan. He may not need to image your spine, but it’s nice to know he has all the tools to provide an accurate diagnosis if need be. For more information, or to speak to someone from his clinic, give his office a call today at (651) 430-3800.