The evaluation of the patient at IBJI includes a comprehensive history and physical examination, followed by appropriate spinal imaging and medical testing.  This may include:

 

Surface Topography  -  the latest method of evaluating spinal deformity uses only light rays to assess the surface shape of the back. Using complex computer analysis, this can reproduce an accurate model of the spinal column without exposing the patient to any radiation.

           

MRI  -  this well-known device is being used in different ways to evaluate spinal cord development, the presence of microscopic stress fractures, inflammation of the facet joints, and to measure the spinal deformity itself.  Although MRI has not been traditionally used in the measurement of deformity because the scan is done laying down, new methods have been developed to simulate the effect of gravity on the spine in this position, allowing it to replace x-ray in many cases.

           

EKG/Pulmonary Function  -  although it has been well known that severe scoliosis causes a deterioration of heart and lung function, new evidence suggests that even in relatively small curves, a subtle change in the EKG and pulmonary function testing can be detected.  Screening tests may be part of the scoliosis work up, and a referral to a pulmonologist or cardiologist is made when abnormalities are detected.

           

SomatoSensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) – this advanced neurologic testing is used to evaluate spinal cord and nerve root function, and is incorporated as real-time spinal cord monitoring during all scoliosis surgery, making the procedure safer than it has ever been.

                       

Radio-Isotope Scanning  -  is used to assist in the detection of stress fractures, tumors and infections that are not visible by any other means.

 

X-Ray and CT Scanning  -  are available when needed as part of the comprehensive work-up.  Minimizing exposure to radiation is a focus at our clinic, so these methods are used only when absolutely necessary.