Skeletal Trauma

Since bone appears much denser on CT than does even intravascular contrast, imaging of the skeletal system does not require contrast injection. Emergent skeletal CT is most often performed to evaluate fracture of the axial skeleton. Intravenous contrast enhancement may be necessary to detect concomitant injury of the abdominal or pelvic organs.

CT of the spine, particularly of the lumbar spine, following administration of intrathecal contrast material is occasionally performed for the evaluation of back pain. This procedure, CT myelography, has been essentially replaced by MRI, which provides significantly better visualization of the spinal cord, nerve roots, and intervertebral disks. CT myelography should only be performed in special cases, such as preoperative evaluation and planning.

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