Vertebral column 4: diagnostic imaging
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List the 5 different imaging modalities
What are the most common radiographic views taken of the vertebral column?
Lateral and ventrodorsal views
What is one disadvantage of using radiography to image the vertebral column?
There is lots of superimposition present in the image
Describe the appearance of the intervertebral disc space on radiographs. Why does it look this way?
It appears black; as a dark gap in between vertebral bodies. Radiography is not good at imaging soft tissue structures
What is a myelography? What structure does this highlight?
When contrast is injected into the vertebral canal and subarachnoid space. It outlines the spinal cord and allows its position to be visualised.
What are the two areas of the vertebral column where contrast can be injected into?
The cisterna magna and lumbar region
How do you locate the cisterna magna?
Flex the neck and place a finger on the occipital crest of the skull. With the other hand palpate the dorsal spinous process of the axis and wings of the atlas. A needle is introduced in midline.
Where in the lumbar region can you introduce a needle for injecting contrast/CSF sampling?
Cranial to the dorsal spinous process of L6
What part of the vertebral column is CT good at visualising?
The boney components
Describe the difference in the appearance of fluid between T1 and T2 weighted MRI images
T1 - fluid appears hypointense. T2 - fluid appears hyperintense.
Which type of MRI is better for assessing the vertebral column and spinal cord - T1 or T2 weighted?
What does a normal nucleus pulposus appear like on T2 weighted MRI?
It should appear bright or hyperintense, as it is relatively fluid filled
MRI is better at visualising the bony components/soft tissue structures of the vertebral column?
soft tissue structures
What area of veterinary medicine is nuclear scintigraphy most commonly used in?
How are scintigraphy images generated?
The animal is injected with a bone seeking agent tagged with a radioisotope marker. The animal is placed in front of a gamma camera that detects the location of the marker.
What is scintigraphy used for?
The localisation of functional/metabolic changes rather than physical ones. It identifies areas of abnormal bone activity rather than assesses anatomical changes.
What type of structures is ultrasound good at imaging?
Soft tissue structures
True or false: ultrasound can penetrate bone?
False - therefore it is not commonly used to image the vertebral column
What would you like to do?
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