Ligament Damage Imaging
In diagnostic radiology we use imaging such as x-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CAT scans, and MRI scans to diagnose injuries or diseases anywhere in the body.
A biological marker or a biomarker is a biological characteristic that objectively measures or evaluates as an indicator of a normal or abnormal body process. An imaging biomarker is a biological characteristic that’s detectable on an image.
For ligament damage imaging of the spine there are two separate and distinct procedures. We have to understand that there’s more than 220 specialized ligaments that hold the spine together. There are over 100 intricate joints. These joints are protecting 31 pairs of spinal nerves and an intricate network of blood vessels that support it. So, it’s very important for the ligaments to be intact for the spine to be in optimal function. In order for the spine to be in optimal function, it has to maintain optimal alignment, and that’s the ligament’s job.
In ligament damage, we know that there are 220 specialized ligaments. Of those, 23 are disks. Ligament damage imaging relies on two procedures: 1. An MRI which is effective for the 23 disks and 2. Stress x-rays and accurate measurements of the excessive motion that they detect.
The result of the second method are two bio-imaging findings or bio-imaging markers. Disc herniations detected via MRI and excessive motion of the joint detected on stress radiology testing (which is accurately measured through an advanced x-ray measurement technology) is called Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis or CRMA for short.
This is a trademarked procedure of Spinal Kinetics, whose board certified medical radiologists can accurately measure the exact abnormal intersegmental motion problems that occur with a spinal ligament injury and thereby cause a spinal instability.
In order for the spine to be in optimal function, it has to maintain optimal alignment, and that’s the ligament’s job.
The findings in both of these methodologies – MRI for disc herniation and stress radiology and accurate mensuration for x-ray studies – are very important because they drive all factors of spinal care and care reimbursements.
Those reimbursements include the care plans of chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, osteopaths, neurologists, and invasive spinal pain intervention, such as spinal injections, oblations, and even surgery of the spine when warranted.
Because of the significance of the finding’s ability to drive care plans, they should be performed by an unbiased, independent, board certified medical radiologist and should not be performed by the treating provider, who may be biased and try to skew the results for reimbursement purposes.
Today, ligament damage imaging is one of the most important parts of diagnostic radiology.