Why are x-ray imaging Conducted?
An X-ray is good at showing your bones and how they relate to each other. An X-ray is helpful if your doctor suspects a fracture of the spine, an infection, or a tumor. Doctors have used X-rays for over 100 years to check bone alignment and to see whether certain shadows appear to be out of alignment. This can give them clues about the health of soft tissues around the spine. If your doctor thinks your problem may be from degeneration of the spine, X-rays can be used to see if the space between your vertebrae is decreased, if there are bone spurs or hypertrophy (enlargement) of the facet joints.
How is it done?
Having an X-ray is much like having your photograph taken. It is a quick and painless procedure. You will be asked to lie very still on a table or stand very still and hold certain positions while pictures are taken of your spine. Sometimes X-rays are taken while you are in different positions. For example, an X-ray may be taken while you bend forward (flexion), and another while you straighten your spine (extension). This is called a “flexion-extension” view of the spine. These X-rays are compared to see if there is extra movement between the vertebrae, a condition called segmental instability.
For patients in pain
Our X-ray system will shoot the X-ray really fast, within 15 seconds. It also has the ability to take 3D weight-bearing images that provide your physician with views of your spine or limb anatomy that are not available with 2D X-rays but are critical for diagnosing and treating complex orthopedic and spine conditions.
What are the limitations of X-ray Imaging?
X-rays are not good at showing the soft tissues-nerves, discs, and ligaments. Today many tests can show the soft tissues much clearer, so doctors do not always have to rely on X-rays. However, X-rays provide a good starting point in evaluating the spine.
What are the risks?
Our X-ray machine is a low-dose imaging machine with reduced radiation exposure to our patients. The EOS X-ray system delivers 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional digital X-ray systems and 95% less dose than computed tomography (CT) scans. For patients that need to undergo frequent X-rays to monitor the progress of their condition, and EOS is the system of choice, delivering fast, safe, and high-quality images.
Unlike traditional X-rays use radiation, which in large doses can increase the risks of cancer. The vast majority of patients who get X-rays will never get enough radiation to worry about cancer. Only patients who must have large numbers of X-rays-hundreds-over many years need to worry about this risk. Children, and young adults who plan to have children, should be protected from radiation exposure to the testicles and ovaries. The radiation may damage sperm and eggs. It is simple to protect these areas by shielding them with a lead apron or lead blanket.
If you or a loved one suffers from spinal pain, you owe it to yourself to call Southwest Scoliosis Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment.