Patient Education - Lung Cancer Program at UCLA
yourself about lung cancer:
Thoracic spine x-ray
A thoracic spine x-ray is an x-ray of the 12 chest (thoracic) vertebrae. The vertebrae
are separated by flat pads of cartilage that cushion them.
Vertebral radiography; X-ray - spine; Thoracic x-ray; Spine x-ray; Thoracic spine
films; Back films
How the Test is Performed
The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care
office by an x-ray technician. You will lie on the x-ray table and assume various
positions. If the x-ray is to determine an injury, care will be taken to prevent
The x-ray machine will be positioned over the thoracic area of the spine. You
will hold your breath as the picture is taken, so that the picture will not be blurry.
Usually 2 or 3 views are needed.
How to Prepare for the Test
Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
How the Test Will Feel
Th test causes no discomfort. The table may be cold.
Why the Test is Performed
The x-ray helps evaluate bone injuries, disease of the bone, tumors of the bone,
or cartilage loss.
What Abnormal Results Mean
The abnormalities the test will pick up include fractures, dislocations, thinning
of the bone (osteoporosis), and deformities in the curvature of the spine. The test
may also detect bone spurs, disk narrowing, and degeneration of the vertebrae.
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide
the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts
feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children
are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray.
The x-ray will not detect problems in the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues,
because they can't be seen well on an x-ray.
Review Date: 8/3/2005
Reviewed By: Jonathan Gross, M.D., Department of Radiology, Columbia University Medical
Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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