Neurologist and surgeon examine a patient's spine image; blog: Why Medical Imaging is Essential to an Accurate Diagnosis

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, medical imaging is one of the top advances in the field of medicine in the past 1,000 years. There is no equivalent tool available for seeing inside the human body, without actually cutting it open.

Benefits of Medical Imaging for Spinal Conditions

Medical imaging has revolutionized the way that spinal conditions are diagnosed. It also helps indicate the best course of treatment whether it’s medication to reduce inflammation from a strain, minimally invasive spine surgery to treat a herniated disc or disc degeneration, or in some circumstances, open spine surgery.

Not only can diagnostic imaging help spine surgeons give an accurate diagnosis and guide the course of treatment, but it can also be utilized to see the progress a patient is having during and after treatment by providing invaluable visual information to show when an injury or condition has healed. 

Why Medical Imaging is Essential to an Accurate Diagnosis

The goal for the treatment of any medical condition is to use the least invasive means necessary. Thanks to the use of proper imaging, surgical procedures needed to correct a spinal condition are less invasive or may be avoided altogether. 

In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis, it’s important for the right diagnostic imaging test to be performed. While an X-Ray and CT scan are often performed initially in trauma patients to evaluate for fracture, an MRI is much better at evaluating the soft tissue structures including the spinal cord, nerve roots, ligaments and discs. For patients with back pain and radiculopathy symptoms, an MRI is generally best. 

These tests are performed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in administering and interpreting the results. In most cases, however, your physician will be the one to share the results with you. As the patient, you have the right to request to see your scans at any time. You also have the right to seek a second opinion.

When to Get a Second Opinion

Because diagnostic imaging tests are performed by a radiologist and not the physician who performed your physical exam or medical history, there is room for error with the interpretation of results. Although slight, there is always a risk of human error. 

SpineRad provides patients with valuable second opinions on spinal conditions. Simply upload the imaging scans and reports you’ve already had done and Dr. Saint-Louis will use his expertise in radiology to give you a detailed report with an explanation of your scan findings.  Also included in the report is an opinion on the diagnosis and whether or not the results of the exam explain symptoms. The best part? You’ll receive these results in 2 to 3 days, all without leaving home. Click here to get started