X-rays are widely used to make radiographs or in a machine called a fluoroscope, which can give continuous x-rays as a guide for injections or surgery. An x-ray is usually done when spine or limb pain occurs after an injury or is slowly progressive in nature. An x-ray may show an abnormality, but may be inconclusive. In such cases, additional tests may be ordered to gain more information. X-rays are best for looking at bone. Learn more.
MRI is one of the most sensitive diagnostic tests available today. It is capable of producing incredibly detailed digital images. The digital images can be manipulated into three-dimensional images, viewable from any angle and with clear distinction between tissue types. Learn more.
CT Scan (also known as a “CAT scan,” for “Computed Axial Tomography”) is a diagnostic test that combines the use of x-rays with computer technology. A series of X-ray beams from many different angles are used to create cross-sectional images of the patient’s body. These images are assembled in a computer into a three-dimensional picture that can display organs, bones, and tissues in great detail. Learn more.
A CT scan gives excellent detail about the bones, however in the case of the spine, the nerves to the arms or legs can often be pinched by soft disc ruptures or overgrowth of spinal ligaments. In such cases, your surgeon may ask the radiologist to administer some dye into the spinal fluid sac with a small needle to better visualize the nerves. Learn more.
A bone scan is a test that is performed by injecting a radiolabeled substance into a vein. This substance is attracted to bone, particularly to areas of high bone activity. Learn more.
A Dexa scan (bone density test) is often used to screen for and detect the early stages of osteoporosis, a condition defined by a decreased density of normal bone. Learn more.
Electromyography/nerve conduction studies are useful when evaluating for peripheral nerve or muscle disorders. The NCS measures the speed at which motor and sensory nerves conduct bioelectrical signals and the size of the response. The EMG follows the NCS and measures the electrical activity of the muscle.