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Back pain? It might be time for a CT scan

If you’ve recently had an injury or you suffer from neck or lower back pain, it may be time for your doctor to refer you for a CT scan of your spine.


Back pain? It might be time for a CT scan

What is a CT scan?

A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a fast, non-invasive test which acquires a three dimensional view of your body structures. The scan captures multiple images from different angles that show the soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones.

How long does it take?

The scan typically takes less than 10 minutes to perform, making it suitable for patients with difficulty laying still for long periods or those who suffer from claustrophobia.

What is the difference between a CT scan and an x-ray?

CT scans of the spine can identify a wider range of disease processes compared to plain x-rays. Plain x-ray provides a limited 2-D view of the bones. In comparison, a three-dimensional CT will provide excellent detail of bony structures of the spine, as well as the soft tissues of the discs and nerves. This makes CT imaging suitable for assessing for a wide range of abnormalities including disc bulges, nerve impingement, bony disease, fractures as well as assessing the state of the spine prior to, or following treatment and surgery.

Are CT scans safe?

Unlike MRI, CT scans can still be safely performed even if you have a medical implant. The machines are Our Medical Radiology are equipped with metal artifact reducing software, allowing us to accurately assess around areas of previous spinal surgery.

CT is a quick and diagnostically accurate method for assessing the state of the spine following trauma or acute onset of pain.

Do I need an appointment?

Our Medical Radiology offers walk-in, bulk-billed CT scans 7 days a week, from 8am to 6pm. 

For more information, or to find your nearest location, visit our Radiology Clinics page.