Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis

During an x-ray, a beam is passed through the back to produce a two-dimensional picture. An x-ray may be done before other tests to look for signs of an injury, tumor, or inherited problems. This test can show the structure of the vertebrae, the outlines of the joints, and can detect calcification.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses energy from a powerful magnet (rather than x-rays) to produce signals that are detected by a scanner and analyzed by computer. An MRI will produce a series of cross-sectional images ("slices") and/or a three-dimensional view of parts of the back. An MRI is particularly sensitive for detecting damage or disease of soft tissues, such as the disks between vertebrae or ligaments. It will also show the spinal cord, nerve roots, and surrounding spaces, as well as enlargement, degeneration, or tumors.
Computed Tomography Scan
Computed tomography (CT) scans use x-rays that are passed through the back at different angles, detected by a scanner, and analyzed by a computer. This produced a series of cross-sectional images and/or three-dimensional views of the parts of the back. The scan will show the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures surrounding it.
Myelogram uses a liquid dye that x-rays cannot penetrate. This dye is injected into the spinal column. The dye will then circulate around the spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear as white objects against bone on an x-ray film. A myelogram can show pressure on the spinal cord or nerves from herniated disks, bone spurs, or tumors.
Bone Scan
A bone scan uses an injected radioactive material that attaches itself to bone, especially in areas where bone is actively breaking down or being formed. The test can detect fractures, tumors, infections, and arthritis, but may not tell one disorder from another. Therefore, a bone scan is usually performed along with other tests.
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Spinal Stenosis Information

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