More fun and games with medical imaging. I got a lumbar discogram followed by a CAT scan. I was able to get a CD of imaging data from the latter. Gallery of images and some animated 3D visualizations after the cut.

Okay, so what are we looking at here? The first couple images are a front view and side view, with some horizontal lines showing the locations of eight "slices" through my spine, right around the joint between the L3 and L4 vertebrae. The remaining images are cross-sections in the places indicated by the lines.

The scan was taken right after an operation where I had radio-opaque dye injected into that disc. Hopefully, by looking at where the dye went, my surgeon can tell what's wrong and what to do to fix it.

Remember that what you're looking at here isn't image data captured more-or-less directly like a photo or conventional X-ray. Instead, it's something synthetic that's been created by a computer program making some fairly complicated inferences about the raw data set. It's kind of hard to convey volumetric data in a meaningful way with static images, so I've made an attempt at a visualization. Here are two short movie files you can download:

Users with slow or costly links, please note the file sizes. MS Windows folks: You probably want to "save" these files, not "open" them. I'm not sure if Windows Media Player will handle this type of video out of the box (and have no easy way to check). If you have trouble playing these, my suggestion would be to download the VLC Media Player -- it's vastly nicer, and comes with all the codecs you'll ever need.