FROM OUR EXPERTS
I never much cared for anatomy class. Dead bodies, the cold, and the smell were just not the way I liked to spend an afternoon. Every first year medical student spends hours in the anatomy room because learning the parts is important, but even more important is knowing what those parts do and how they work—functional anatomy. Thankfully, studying functional anatomy requires warm, live people who don’t usually smell. Let’s learn some parts without the smell because if you understand the parts, then you will understand the treatment. Getting down to the framework of your body is the skeleton which holds you upright, otherwise you would be a blob of gooey mush. As part of the skeleton, the spine is your backbone that bridges the span between your head and your butt. Because it is a bridge, the spine has passive, stationary structures (bones, ligaments, and discs) which don’t “do” anything except provide support for the whole body. However, these parts o...
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
A lumbosacral spine CT is a computed tomography scan of the lower spine and surrounding tissues.
Spinal CT; CT - lumbosacral spine
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. You will need to lie on your back for this test.
Once inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you. (Modern "spiral" scanners can perform the exam in one continuous motion.)
Small detectors inside the scanner measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the part of the body being studied. A computer takes this information and uses it to create several individual images, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual slices together.
You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your br...
You should know
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