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What tests might a doctor prescribe to diagnose a spinal compression?

ANSWER

You may get tests such as:

A spinal compression fracture may be seen on a bone density exam (DEXA) if an additional test called a vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) is done at the same time.

Also, rarely a bone biopsy may be done in a small percentage of people who have compression fractures to determine if the fracture is caused by cancer.

  • A spinal X-ray to determine whether a vertebra has collapsed
  • A CT scan to provide detail of the fractured bone and the nerves around it
  • An MRI scan to show greater detail of nerves and nearby discs

SOURCES: 

Michael Schaufele, MD, physiatrist and professor of orthopaedics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. 

Rex Marco, MD, chief of spine surgery and musculoskeletal oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 28, 2018

SOURCES: 

Michael Schaufele, MD, physiatrist and professor of orthopaedics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. 

Rex Marco, MD, chief of spine surgery and musculoskeletal oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 28, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How can I prevent future spinal compression fractures?

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