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Diagnosing Spine Conditions

Getting the right diagnosis for your spine condition is vital for determining the best, most effective treatment.

The specialists at the Abington Orthopedic and Spine Institute – Jefferson Health are highly skilled and experienced in the latest diagnostic approaches and technologies. They understand the pain and physical limitations you may have from spine problems and evaluate your condition with compassion and care.

Advanced Diagnostic Technology

Our surgeons use a full range of technologies to evaluate and diagnose your spine problem. These include:

X-ray – identifies spinal compression fractures and other sources of back and neck pain

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – noninvasive method to see spinal and joint conditions using composites of hundreds of images; contrast dye may be added to visualize certain problems

Computed Tomography (CT) scan – known as “CAT” scan, uses x-rays to create cross-sectional images of body

Bone scan – CT images that measure increase or decrease in bone metabolism

Electromyography (EMG) – nerve conduction study to identify muscle weakness caused by pinched nerves, disc herniation or other conditions

Myelogram – specialized x-ray using radiopharmaceutical materials (nuclear medicine) to illuminate spine; used to diagnose source of back pain

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan – special camera and nuclear medicine tracer highlight tissue or organ; often compared with CT scan to view musculoskeletal system

Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan – used to evaluate bone quality/loss in diagnosing osteoporosis or risk factors for fracture.

Biopsy – surgeons may remove a small piece of tissue or muscle to diagnose problems or evaluate cysts or masses

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