This test uses X-rays to create detailed images of the bones and discs in your lower back (lumbar spine).
The spine is made up of thirty-three bones called vertebrae.
The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae called L1 through L5.
The lumbar vertebrae are separated by discs.
The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible. They also help maintain the space between two vertebrae.
A CT scan of the lower back is a test that uses X-rays to create detailed images of the lumbar spine.
CT scan with dye is done after a dye is put into a vein in the arm or hand.
The dye helps to highlight the structures in the lower back, so they can be seen better.
Here are some things you should know before having a CT scan.
Your healthcare provider may tell you not to eat or drink for at least four hours before the test.
The test is painless, but you must lie still during the exam. Moving can blur the images.
Generally, a complete scan takes only a few minutes. New scanners work even faster.
The technician will inject a contrast dye to help the structures in your lower back show up better in the pictures.
The contrast dye may cause you to feel flushed or to have a bad taste in your mouth for a short time.
If you have an allergy to iodine, shellfish or contrast dye tell your healthcare provider before the test. He or she may order a different test or have you take a medication to prevent a reaction.
The costs for this test include the charge for the test (facility charge) and physician charges (for performing or interpreting the test). You may get separate bills from the facility and the physician's office.
What should I ask my health care provider before having this test?
Can I eat before the test? If not, how many hours before the test should I stop eating?
Do I need to have the test with dye? If I do, should I be concerned if I have allergies?
Is there any special preparation for the test? (If so, get clear steps to follow.)
What is the reason for the test? Are the test results likely to change my treatment plan? If not, why do I need the test?
Are there any less expensive, but effective, alternatives to my getting this test?
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