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Why order a CT scan after an MRI?

XenaPortlandXXenaPortland Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

I am scheduled for Spinal Fusion surgery in about a week to deal with a Grade 3 Spondylothesis and destruction of the disk at L5-S1. I had an MRI scan a couple days ago, and I just got called by the imaging place today because the surgeon now wants me to get a CT scan too.

Why? It makes me worry that he saw something on the MRI that made him want a CT, but I can't think of what that would be.

Anyone have any similar experience? Thanks.
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Comments

  • Don't worry about the CT unnecessarily. My surgeon ordered a CT after an MRI because a CT scan shows certain aspects better than an MRI...sorry, but I don't remember specifically what. It wasn't that my surgeon was worried about something, but wanted to have the best perspective possible before going in.

    Good luck and let us know how you're doing.

    KarenD
    KarenD
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • My NS always orders one befoe surgery just to help him plan and navigate the surgery. No worries.

    Good Luck,

    Julie
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  • My doctor also said I needed an ACDF but he wanted a CT myelogram first. I looked at the order for CT scan and it indicated that I might have OPLL, or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. This is basically the hardening of the ligament into bone from my research. I also learned that these CT scans can better identify the areas of ossification better. Knowing where these bony areas compress the spinal cord allow the doctor to prevent, to the extent possible, a CSF leak.

    My CT scan and pre-op appointment is coming up this Tuesday with surgery the next day. Just hoping that the CT scans does not reveal anything that will cause the doctor to back out of the surgery
  • My doctor also said I needed an ACDF but he wanted a CT myelogram first. I looked at the order for CT scan and it indicated that I might have OPLL, or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. This is basically the hardening of the ligament into bone from my research. I also learned that these CT scans can better identify the areas of ossification better. Knowing where these bony areas compress the spinal cord allow the doctor to prevent, to the extent possible, a CSF leak.

    My CT scan and pre-op appointment is coming up this Tuesday with surgery the next day. Just hoping that the CT scans does not reveal anything that will cause the doctor to back out of the surgery.
  • Well, that makes me feel better. I was reading some of the Spine-Health info and it seems like CT's show bones better, MRI's show soft tissue better. Maybe that's making it simpler than it is, but what the heck.

    I will let you all know what I find out!
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,578
    there are always two pieces to the surgery. You would have the neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon taking care of the disc, roots, nerves, etc. Then you have the orthopedic surgeon handling the actual fusion.

    For my ACDF surgeries, I had my neurosurgeon take care of removing the disc material and ensuring that was ok, and then the orthopedic doctor taking a bone chip from my hip and use if for the fusion.

    In simple terms, the neurosurgeon depending more on the MRI, where the Orthopedic doctor needed the CT scans.

    Plus in today's medical health insurance era, any diagnostic test needs to be justified by the doctors.

    I wouldn't worry about having this CT scan done.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • For Fusion, sounds like the surgical team wants all the information possible to know what they are going to find when they operate.

    Good luck!
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