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Two Views of Lumbar Spine CT scans.

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In words:

What are Lumbar Spine CT Scans?

A doctor or physician may order a CT scan of the lumbar spine to make detailed pictures and analyze the internal structure. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning is useful to get a very detailed 3D image of certain parts of the body.

The process begins by taking many different X-ray views at various different angles, which are then combined with the use of computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissue inside of your body, including tissues inside of solid organ. Ordinary X-ray testing does not show clear images of soft tissue, so doctors often request CT scanning to get a good image of soft tissue including organs, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and the brain. Sometimes a contrast dye is used as it shows up clearer on the screen.

During a quality CT scan of the lumbar spine, a doctor will be able to see cross-sections of your lower back, which is made up of five vertebral bones, large blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.

Reasons for a Lumbar Spine CT scan: 

CT scans are used for a multitude of reasons. They may be done to check for certain cancers in various different ways including to detect abnormal tumors, growths or lumps. They also identify the location of tumors, the stage of cancer, and where to perform a biopsy.

A lumbar spine CT scan can be used to guide doctors or surgeons during a procedure, such as a biopsy. They are important in planning for certain types of therapy and surgery, as well as in the aftermath to determine whether your body is responding to treatment.

CT scans can be used to detect cysts or infections in the body. They can also identify the bone structures within the body and can accurately measure the density of bone.

A CT scan is often used to quickly inspect a patient after an accident in order to identify traumatic internal injuries.

A Lumbar Spine CT scan may help diagnose (find): 

A lumbar spine CT scan can diagnose the cause of lower back pain, problems controlling the bladder, weakness, numbness or problems with your legs.  

A CT scan of the lumbar spine can identify a pinched nerve, a herniated disk, infection, and signs of cancer.

Birth defects affecting the spine can also be revealed in a CT scan of the lumbar spine.

A CT scan of the lumbar spine can diagnose multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis.

A lumbar spine CT scan is often used in spinal surgery preparation as well.

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