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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
  • osteoporosis
  • foraminal stenosis
  • spondylolisthesis
  • 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.



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