1-800-472-6786

CT of the Spine: Exam Description

Your doctor has ordered a CT (Computed Tomography) of your spine. CT is an advanced form of X-rays that uses a narrow X-ray beam and advanced computer software to create detailed cross-sectional images of the body organs.
CT Scan of the Spine1CT Scan of the Spine2CT Scan of the Spine3CT Scan of the Spine4

HOW DO I GET READY FOR MY EXAM?

We recommend that you print fill out the CT questionnaire form(s) before arriving. It will help accelerate your registration process.

  • Please wear comfortable clothing (ideally without metal) and leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
  • Please call the number below if you have any questions regarding your exam.

 (805) 681-7671

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER ARRIVING FOR MY EXAM?

  • Upon arrival, please check in at the radiology front desk.
  • If you did not fill out the CT questionnaire prior to your arrival, you will be asked to complete the questionnaire upon check in.
  • If your exam requires an iodine contrast injection, you will be asked to sign a consent form.
  • If your doctor orders a contras t(dye) injection, you will also need to sign a consent form.
  • Exams with IV contrast (dye) require renal panel (blood test) results within the last 90 days for the following patients:
  • Patients 60 years or older
  • Patients with a history of renal disease
  • Patients with a history of diabetes mellitus
  • Patients with a history of multiple myeloma
  • Please inform the technologist(s) if you have any allergies, are pregnant or are nursing.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY EXAM?

  • The technologist will explain the procedure to you.
  • The CT scan should take just a few minutes.
  • The technologists will be able to see and hear you at all times during the exam.
  • The CT of the neck requires you to lie down on the scanning table.
  • If contrast is required, the technologist will start an IV in your arm and contrast will be injected through the IV.
  • If contrast dye is used, you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. It is normal and this sensation will go away within one or two minutes.
  • During the scan, you will receive some breathing instructions. You will be asked to hold your breath for approximately 10-12 seconds.
  • It is very important to remain very still during the scan to obtain optimal image quality.
  • The technologists will be able to see and hear you at all times during the exam.
  • Once the exam is completed, the IV will remain in your arm and the technologist will bring you to a comfortable resting area. You will be asked to stay in the CT department for approximately 10 minutes after the completion of your exam.
  • If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face, please inform the technologist immediately.
  • The technologist will remove the IV (if one is used) and provide written instructions on how to proceed after your exam.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER MY SCAN?

  • If a contrast injection was used during your exam, drink at least 50-60 ounces of water within 24 hours to eliminate the contrast (dye) from your body.
  • If you have diabetes and received an iodine contrast injection for your CT scan, you should stop taking certain medications (a list will be provided to you by the technologist) for 48 hours.
  • There are no dietary of physical restrictions following your CT scan.
  • The images of your scan will be examined by a radiologist and the results will be sent to your referring physician who will review the results with you.
  • You can request copies of your images on a CD-ROM or your report, by calling (805) 692-6435.

SCHEDULING INFORMATION

Please call (805) 681-7671 to schedule your appointment. 

Download and print the questionnaire and forms you may need to complete prior to your visit >