In this lumbar spine course and spine conference 2017 Colorado spine surgeon Dr. Donald Corenman discusses how to read an x-ray of the spine.
Other than the MRI, the x-ray is the most valuable diagnostic tool. The x-ray can define problems and pathologies. Dr. Corenman likes to refer to it as the poor mans MRI, because if you use it appropriately, you can come up with a number of diagnostic disorders if you carefully screen the images. In this lumbar spine course, Dr. Corenman is going to address how to read an x-ray of the spine.
First, an AP normal lumbar x-ray is presented. When the image is initially assessed, the physician should have an idea of what appears to be normal and what does not appear to be normal. The first thing that Dr. Corenman sees is the alignment of the spine and the level of the sacrum. If the sacrum is not level, it can raise questions such as a pelvic obliquity due to malformation of the pelvis or to a short leg.