An X-ray uses a radioactive beam to take pictures of bone.
At Virginia Spine Institute, x-rays are part of a basic understanding of your spine and we have an in-house x-ray facility with a qualified technician. X-rays provide fundamental information about the spine and are used as part of our comprehensive diagnostic approach. We traditionally obtain standing x-rays as gravity plays a crucial role in identifying problems that can be missed on lying down x-rays. We also get special bending x-rays called “flexion-extension” views to learn about the stability of the spine.
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
- segmental instability
- pseudoarthrosis or non-healing fusions
- surgical progress
- infection and tumors
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 in children. We only order x-rays necessary to fully understand your spinal pathology.