By X-rays Painless, non-invasive imaging process that utilizes photographic film to absorb electromagnetic radiation — having an extremely short wavelength of less than 100 angstroms and the ability to penetrate solids of various thicknesses — transmitted through a material body. These images, also known as radiographs or roentgenograms, are used to diagnose and monitor the treatment of various disorders.
By CAT Scan (computed axial tomography scan) [also called a CT scan (computed tomography scan)] -- Another painless imaging technique that utilizes a computer to produce detailed three-dimensional images of a body from a collation of cross-sectional X-rays taken along an axis. Of all the imaging techniques that are currently available, the CAT scan is best able to produce images of bone, blood, and soft tissues.
By MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) - Non-invasive technique for imaging the spine that involves rotating a magnet around the body and exciting its hydrogen atoms. A scanner is then utilized to detect the energy emitted by the excited atoms. MRIs provide exceptional detail of the spine's anatomy, since the human body is composed primarily of water, which is two parts hydrogen. The single most useful test available for diagnosing spinal disorders.
By Myelogram - A test procedure that involves injecting a radiographic contrast media (dye) into the sac (dura) surrounding the spinal cord and nerves, and then taking X-rays of the spine. This allows the radiologist to specifically X-ray the nerve roots. In this way, any abnormalities within the spinal canal can potentially be identified to aid in the diagnosis of certain spinal problems, such as nerve compression or a disc rupture.
By Bone Scan - A test procedure that involves intravenously injecting a small quantity of a radiographic marker into the patient, and then running a scanner over the area of concern. The scanner detects the marker, which concentrates in any region exhibiting high bone turnover. A bone scan is utilized when there is suspicion of tumor, infection, or small fractures, i.e., conditions that all result in high bone turnover. A Bone Scan does not replace the above tests, but may provide additional information by eliminating other serious problems.
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