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X-Ray Imaging

In-house diagnostic testing

Providing fundamental information for your diagnosis

The proper x-rays are absolutely essential in diagnosing spine disorders and developing the proper treatments for those disorders.  As part of routine imaging, proper x-rays should be done in the standing position. There are several different views available, include front-to-back, side, bending forwards and backwards, among others.  Each view shows something different and your physician will determine which views are best in your particular case. The technique performed during the filming process is quite precise with many nuances, and therefore best done by a radiology technician specifically trained in taking spine x-rays.

Benefits of X-Ray Imaging

X-rays can be used to identify a wide range of conditions such as:

  • spinal alignment and disorders such as scoliosis or kyphosis
  • compression fractures
  • stress fractures or spondylolysis
  • arthritis and bone spurs
  • foraminal stenosis
  • spondylolisthesis
  • segmental instability
  • pseudoarthrosis or non-healing fusions
  • surgical progress

X-rays are not useful at showing soft tissues such as nerves, discs, and ligaments.

X-rays do use radiation; the vast majority of patients who get x-rays will not have enough exposure to be concerned with increased cancer risks. We are always cautious of how many x-rays are ordered, especially children. We only order x-rays necessary to fully understand your spinal pathology.

X-Ray FAQ

Why are X-Rays an Important Tool in Diagnosing Spinal Conditions?

The proper x-rays are absolutely essential in diagnosing spine disorders and developing the proper treatments for those disorders.  As part of routine imaging, proper x-rays should be done in the standing position. There are several different views available, include front-to-back, side, bending forwards and backwards, among others.  Each view shows something different and your physician will determine which views are best in your particular case. The technique performed during the filming process is quite precise with many nuances, and therefore best done by a radiology technician specifically trained in taking spine x-rays.

What Should I do With my Old X-Rays?

At Virginia Spine Institute all of our patients have x-rays on file, which we refer back to during each visit.  Our policy is to keep x-rays current, looking for any changes over time. Not only is this a best practice, but also helps with assessing healing after surgery and planning for the future.  Multiple data points are best to predict the future and guide treatments depending on symptoms.

How Many X-Rays Can I Expect During my First Visit?

As treatments become more complex, perhaps involving surgery, our surgical team is dedicated to understanding the alignment of the entire spine. Spinal alignment can be assessed in several ways, and we strive to right size the amount of diagnostic testing to minimize the radiation exposure for the patient.

We could require a full-length x-ray to understand to understand the global picture of your spine. Rather than treating one focused area or body part, we treat the entire person as a whole. For patients with spinal deformities, standing, laying, and bending x-rays help determine the flexibility of the spine and precise measurements are made to make specific calculations that are used during surgery.  This “whole body” approach is part of what makes the surgeons at VSI so successful at treating spinal conditions; from routine to complex disorders.

When you come to Virginia Spine Institute you can trust in us that we are aware of minimizing radiation exposure, and will only do as many x-rays as needed to make the diagnosis, track certain treatments, and provide proper surveillance.

Is it Common for a Doctor to Overlook a Diagnosis When Viewing an X-Ray?

If the x-rays are not done properly, or done with poor technique, common findings can be missed.  Spondylolisthesis, or slipping of the spine, is a common condition that in the early phases is often only seen when an x-ray is taken upright while bending.  These patients can have symptoms for years but are told they have a normal spine.

Meet Our Spinal Specialists

Dr. Christopher Good

Spine Surgeon
President of Virginia Spine Institute

Dr. Colin Haines

Spine Surgeon
Director of Research

Dr. Ehsan Jazini

Spine Surgeon

Dr. Niteesh Bharara

Orthopedic Specialist - Non-Surgical Sports Medicine
Director of Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad

Neurologist

Dr. Steven Papuchis

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Dr. Thomas Nguyen

Interventional Pain Management Specialist

Dr. Thomas Schuler

Spine Surgeon
Founder of Virginia Spine Institute
Chief Executive Officer

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