Safe Spine Care
Our Philosophy – First State Spine’s treatment plan focuses on an accurate diagnosis of the source of the patient’s pain. This strategy, combined with many techniques that we have pioneered, enable the majority of our patients to achieve excellent results.
Surgery is always a last resort.
Bone Scan is a study used to detect any inflammatory process in the body. When the source of pain is not clear the bone scan is able to direct the attention of your physician to the area inflammation. The inflammation may be caused by fracture, infection, tumor, or high bone turnover. However, the bone scan will not differentiate between these processes.
Nerve tissue conducts information about pain and sensation. It also transports signals for motor movements to the muscles. When pain or dysfunction sets in, it is often difficult to know the source of pain and malfunction. An EMG is an electrical study the measure the response of muscle to the stimulation of a nerve. A variation of this test is Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) which measures the speed of signal transport within the nerve.
As our bodies age we naturally loose bone mass. When the rate of bone loss is too high and there is substantial bone weakening, this condition is referred to as Osteoporosis. The rate of loss is different between individuals but there are definite trends in mineral bone loss. At risk are white, thin females who smoke and consume alcohol. Lowest risk is found in African American Males. In women the risk increases after menopause with decrease in Estrogen levels. Increased intake of Calcium and vitamin D may slow down the process but does not reverse it. New drugs have been introduced that reverses this process but very slowly over many years.
A Myelogram is ordered by your physician to delineate some of the structures within your spinal canal. It uses X-ray and a contrast media (dye) to visualize the spinal canal, spinal cord and nerves. Even though MRI technology is used more commonly, the Myelogram provides information that may be different than an MRI. Diseases that can be diagnosed with the Myelogram include disc problems, postoperative scarring, narrowing of the spinal canal (Spinal Stenosis), Spinal tumors, and inflammation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Scan) is a relatively new technology developed in State University of New York @ Brooklyn by Dr. Damadian. As compared to X-ray and CT scanning, there is no detectable radiation with the MRI. Although both soft tissue (including neural tissues) and bony tissue is seen by the MRI, the visualization of nerves and other soft tissues are superior.
The MRI uses powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the body. MRI images are extremely detailed and so the results may be over read. Research studies have indicated that images from normal people sometimes showed abnormalities as well. This produces some confusion. Due to this fact, every physician must correlate the MRI findings with the clinical symptoms of the patient in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. This is the origin of common saying “treat the patient, not the images.”
Computerized Tomography or CT scan is a commonly used technology that utilized X-ray with computer managed software to produce cross sectional images of the body. The produced images can be viewed on a screen and later printed on special paper for permanent records. Different type of images are produced by CT scan, however, bony details are better visualized than soft tissue anatomy. When there is a need to visualize and examine soft tissue structures (like discs, muscles, nerves, and tendons), MRI is usually a better test to request.
X-ray is the most commonly used diagnostic study used by the spine surgeon. It provides information regarding alignment of the spinal column, configuration of fractures, and presence of tumors. It has relatively low level of radiation and is comparably inexpensive. X-rays provide us with details regarding bony elements, but information regarding soft tissue structures is provided only indirectly. For this reason our diagnostic studies may extend to the MRI, CT scan, or the myelogram.