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CT Cisternography - An overview


CT cisternography is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses computed tomography (CT) to visualize the subarachnoid space and CSF flow within the brain and spinal cord. The procedure involves injecting a contrast medium, usually iodinated contrast material, into the subarachnoid space through a lumbar puncture or other suitable access site. The contrast material then flows through the CSF pathways, and the resulting images can be used to identify abnormalities and malformations.

The following are the basic steps involved in CT cisternography:

1. Preparation: Prior to the procedure, the patient will need to remove any metal objects and change into a hospital gown. The patient may also be given a sedative or pain reliever to help them relax and reduce any discomfort.

2. Injection of contrast material: The patient is positioned on their side or stomach, and a local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and underlying tissue. A small needle is then inserted into the lumbar region of the spine, and the contrast material is injected into the subarachnoid space.

3. Imaging: The patient is then moved to the CT scanner, which uses X-rays and computer processing to create detailed images of the subarachnoid space and CSF flow. The patient may be asked to hold their breath for short periods during the scan to reduce motion artifacts.

4. Post-procedure care: After the procedure, the patient is typically observed for a short time to ensure there are no adverse reactions or complications. The patient may experience some temporary discomfort at the injection site or mild headache.

CT cisternography can be useful for diagnosing a variety of neurological conditions, including intracranial tumors, hydrocephalus, cerebral aneurysms, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. However, like any medical procedure, there are some risks involved, such as infection or allergic reaction to the contrast material. Therefore, it is important for patients to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with their doctor before undergoing CT cisternography.