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Spine CT – How to Prepare

When preparing for your spine CT exam, you should make sure to remove all metal objects, including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins that may affect the CT images. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work. Women will be asked to remove bras containing metal underwire. You may be asked to remove any piercings, if possible.

You should inform your physician of all medications you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to contrast material, or "dye," your doctor may prescribe medications (usually a steroid) to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. These medications generally need to be taken 12 hours prior to administration of contrast material.

Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions and whether you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect.

In addition, women should always inform their radiologist and the CT technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.

If your infant or young child is having a spinal CT exam, there are measures that can be taken to ensure that the test will not be a cause of anxiety for either the child or parent.

Watch the CT - What to Expect Video.