Richard A. Deyo, MD; Stanley J. Bigos, MD; Kenneth R. Maravilla, MD
Deyo RA, Bigos SJ, Maravilla KR. Diagnostic Imaging Procedures for the Lumbar Spine. Ann Intern Med. 1989;111:865-867. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-111-11-865
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1989;111(11):865-867.
Low back pain is an extraordinarily common complaint, but one with a generally favorable prognosis. Most episodes will improve rapidly with little or no medical intervention, and a specific diagnosis can be made in only a few cases (1). Only a very few patients require plain radiography and even fewer patients require more sophisticated imaging procedures. Although a broad range of imaging procedures are commonly used for the lumbar spine (Table 1), many of these procedures overlap in their capabilities, and their optimal choice or sequence remains uncertain. Furthermore, the clinical usefulness of some of these tests remains controversial.
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