Generally speaking, people have fears about x-rays. But before avoiding or limiting treatment for that reason, you should consider the following facts about scoliosis X-rays.
Scoliosis x-rays are a safe and painless study that uses a small amount of radiation to obtain precise images of the spine of a patient. The imaging protocol must follow very rigorous steps in order to obtain studies that are reproducible and comparable. They provide all of the necessary information for the diagnosis, preparation of a treatment plan, and/or to determine necessary changes in protocol in existing treatments. In addition, the radiographs provide information about bone maturity which will influence decisions about the best options in the treatment of the scoliosis.
The analysis of the X-ray images is essential in determining the postural parameters of the spine. The other analytical or measuring options for the spine are indirect measurements and do not reveal the main cause. This could result in important diagnostic errors, inadequate treatment, and thereby could have detrimental consequences for the patient. The X-rays reveal the true condition and alignment of the spine and eliminates the need for conjecture.
The modern focus for rehabilitation of the spine, guided by precise imaging, has demonstrated to be superior to previous treatments. The dose of radiation employed in the x-rays is always very low, approximately 100 times below the threshold for damaging effects. Instead of increasing the risk, these exposures probably stimulate the body´s own protective systems and as a result produce health benefits (Hormesis).
X-ray technique and equipment have greatly evolved in the last few decades. Every time there are more filters to minimize radiation exposure, as commented in one of the latest studies published in the peer-reviewed journal Spine in July, 2018. There are new protocols for radiographs of the full spine (2,4) and the levels and exposure time that follow the guidelines ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable)(3,4).
In the TIE center, the positioning during the x-ray is of supreme importance. Once the appropriate views have been taken, the appropriate treatment protocol can be applied.
- Minehiro K, Demura S, Ichikawa K, Sasagawa T, Takahashi N, Minami S, Murakami H, Tsuchiya H. Dose Reduction Protocol for Full Spine X-ray Examination Using Copper Filters in Patients With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 Jul 12. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002787. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30005046.
- Enríquez G, Piqueras J, Catalá A, Oliva G, Ruiz A, Ribas M, Duran C, Rodrigo C, Rodríguez E, Garriga V, Maristany T, García-Fontecha C, Baños J, Muchart J, Alava F. [Optimization of radiological scoliosis assessment]. Med Clin (Barc). 2014 Jul;143 Suppl 1:62-7. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2014.07.013. Review. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 25128362.
- Oakley PA, Cuttler JM, Harrison DE. X-Ray Imaging is Essential for Contemporary Chiropractic and Manual Therapy Spinal Rehabilitation: Radiography Increases Benefits and Reduces Risks. Dose Response. 2018 Jun 19;16(2):1559325818781437. doi: 10.1177/1559325818781437. eCollection 2018 Apr-Jun. PubMed PMID: 29977177; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6024283.
- Branchini M, Del Vecchio A, Gigliotti CR, Loria A, Zerbi A, Calandrino R. Organ doses and lifetime attributable risk evaluations for scoliosis examinations of adolescent patients with the EOS imaging system. Radiol Med. 2018 Apr;123(4):305-313. doi: 10.1007/s11547-017-0828-5. Epub 2017 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 29164365.