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The limitations of current diagnostic tools, including myelography, in localizing the anatomic lesion in spinal stenosis are well recognized. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether computerized tomography can more effectively define the normal and abnormal osseous structures compromising the boundaries of the spinal canal, nerve root canal, and intervertebral foramen. This study is a pathologic-radiographic correlation between CT scans and sections of spine specimens that were so scanned. The tomographic images investigated were multiplanar, that is, simultaneously presenting transverse, coronal, and sagittal images. Spine specimens were chosen to show how the technique applies to the normal spine, as well as to selected specimens with spinal stenosis. The role of the discs and apophyseal joints in shaping the intervertebral foramina and lateral recesses is emphasized in both normal and abnormal specimens. This study shows that computerized tomography can precisely localize anatomic lesions and, by comparison of the image to the gross anatomic specimen, that it is a reliable portrayal of the anatomic fact.