Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)
An International Organization Dedicated to the Education, Research and Treatment of Spinal Deformity
Our Mission is to Foster Optimal Care for All Patients with Spinal Deformities
Further radiographs can be performed to determine the flexibility of the curvature (how much it straightens). These flexibility radiographs can be done several ways. X-rays can be taken in which the patient lays on the table and bends to the right and then to the left (see Figure 2). Traction films are taken with the patient's arms and legs pulled to stretch the spine out. A fulcrum- bend radiograph is taken with a padded roll placed at the apex of the curve to improve the curve correction. These radiographs are most often taken in the planning of surgical treatments.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of the spine is not routinely obtained for patients with AIS. The MRI is specifically used to review other things in addition to the bones of the spine, for instance to view the spinal cord to ensure there are no abnormalities. An MRI is usually ordered if your physician finds some subtle neurologic abnormalities on physical examination, if there is significant pain associated with the scoliosis or if the radiographs demonstrate an "atypical" curve pattern. The likelihood of having something abnormal on the MRI is very small but would require further evaluation with a neurosurgeon if abnormalities are seen.