1) What is a thoracic spine x-ray?
- A thoracic spine x-ray examines the twelve chest (thoracic) vertebrae, which are separated by flat pads of cartilage cushioning them. Alternative names may include vertebral radiography, thoracic x-ray, spine x-ray, thoracic spine films, or back films. This x-ray is necessary to evaluate bone injuries, bone diseases, bone tumors, or cartilage loss.
2) What happens during thoracic spine x-ray?
- A hospital radiology department or health care provider’s office performs the thoracic spine x-ray examinations done by an x-ray technician. First, you will be asked to lie down on the x-ray table and may be repositioned a few times for different views. If the x-ray is to determine an injury, additional care will be taken to prevent further harm to the injury. Then, the x-ray machines will be positioned over your spine’s thoracic area. In order to not blur the images taken, you will need to hold your breath as the machines takes the scans. Generally, two or three views are necessary.
3) What should I do to prepare for a thoracic spine x-ray?
- To prepare for a thoracic spine x-ray, please remove all jewelry. Note that if you are pregnant or are suspecting pregnancy, you will need to inform your health care provider prior to the examination.
4) What are the risks? Are there any after effects?
- The risk to a thoracic spine x-ray is the low radiation exposure, which is more sensitive to pregnant women and children. However, x-rays are monitored and regulated so that patients will only be exposure to the minimum amount of radiation to generate an image. Additionally, most experts feel that the benefits overweigh the risk to low radiation.
5) What happens with the thoracic spine x-ray scan results?
- Abnormal results suggests fractures, dislocations, thinning of the bone, deformities in the spine’s curvature, bone spurs, disk narrowing, or vertebrae degeneration.