Put your back into it: Pathologic conditions of the spine at chest CT
It is common to encounter pathologic processes of the lower cervical, thoracic, or upper lumbar spine in the course of routine computed tomography (CT) of the chest. Although magnetic resonance (MR) is the imaging modality of choice for evaluating known spinal disease, evaluation of the spine is an integral part of interpreting a chest CT study. Spinal diseases often have a characteristic CT appearance that allows the radiologist to make the diagnosis or provide a structured differential diagnosis. Pathologic conditions of the spine that can be identified at chest CT are categorized into benign or incidental findings, congenital anomalies, traumatic injuries, infectious spondylitis, primary or secondary neoplastic involvement, and associations with systemic disease. CT also provides information about bone mineralization and lesion calcification that complements the superior soft-tissue imaging capability of MR. In addition, chest CT data may be reformatted to create volumetric or multiplanar images of the spine to facilitate management decisions about spinal stabilization in symptomatic patients. © RSNA, 2011.
Meyer, CA; Vagal, AS; Seaman, D
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