CT Scan of the Cervical Spine

Your doctor has recommended you for a CT scan of the cervical spine. CT scans use X-ray technology and advanced computer analysis to create detailed pictures of your body. This cross-sectional imaging scan allows the radiologist to assess the spine for injury and other bony abnormalities using a rotating X-ray beam. The Cedars-Sinai S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center has a team of specialists who focus on taking and interpreting CTs. Our team of expert physicians, nurses and technologists is led by Cindy Kallman, MD, chief, Body CT.

Why choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a CT study

Before Arriving for Your Exam

Patients who are diabetic and taking Glucophage will need clearance from their referring physician before the exam.

If your exam includes an IV injection of a contrast dye, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for three hours before your exam. You can drink clear liquids, unless you are on restricted fluids. Blood tests may also be required before the administration of contrast materials. Not all scans use a contrast dye. The dye improves the image quality by highlighting certain structures, such as arteries or the colon and making them more visible on the scan.

Diabetic patients and those with allergies must inform the radiology staff and may need clearance from their doctor before the exam.

Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home and wear comfortable clothing.

Although we do not anticipate any delay in your scheduled appointment, we recommend that you bring a book, a magazine or a music player to help pass any time you may have to wait.

After Arriving

A radiology nurse or technologist will ask you a few questions regarding your medical history.

If you are receiving contrast, a nurse or technologist will insert a small IV in your arm.

You must inform the technologist, radiology nurse and/or physician of any allergies you may have before your exam.

During Your Exam

While positioning you on the exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.

If contrast dye is being used, it will be injected through your IV.

During the injection you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.

If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face you should notify the technologist immediately.

Most often, you will be asked to lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides.

The table you are on will slide into the scanner. Only a portion of your head is covered by the scanner as it takes pictures.

The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.

You will be asked to hold very still and at times to hold your breath.

This procedure usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

After Your Exam

There are no restrictions placed on you after this procedure. You may eat and drive as normal.

If you received an injection of contrast dye, you should drink plenty of liquid to help flush it out of your system.

Your study will be read by an imaging physician who specializes in the interpretation of CT scans. The results will be sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours.

Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

To request copies of your pictures on a PC-compatible CD, or of your report, please call 310-423-8000. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000. 

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.