A 21 year old female entered the office in a wheelchair. Any attempt by her to stand caused extreme pain in her legs leading to an involuntary collapse. For six months, she had been wheelchair bound as the result of a gradual deterioration of her condition. The original injury was sustained playing sports at the age of 17.
During this time she had consulted numerous physicians about her condition. MRI images showed a complete disk prolapse and annular fiber tears. This was causing the disk to pinch her spinal cord at the L5 S1, interrupting neural signals and causing extreme pain and loss of motor function in her lower body. In Figure 17, three different slices of an MRI image show the disc pinching the spinal cord below the L5 vertebra.
Multiple doctors refused to attempt any noninvasive treatments on the patient as they were fearful of causing further damage, potentially leading to paralysis. The patient’s mother was devastated because everyone had told them that surgery was the only possible treatment, and that option was dangerous as well as providing no guarantee her daughter would be able to walk again. The patient was referred to our office by a doctor familiar with our 3D x-ray imaging process.
Using 3D X-ray to produce true three dimensional x-ray images, information missing from all other tests was gleaned. All vertebrae in the MRI images shown in Figure 17 appear to have equal spacing between them (see item A) which is due to the fact that all MRIs are taken lying down as they require the patient to not move for upwards of 45 minutes. In a gravity assisted x-ray image (Figure 18) of her back taken while the patient was strapped standing in place using our locking device, it can be seen that part of the L5 vertebra makes contact with the sacrum (see item B). However, there is not enough information in the 2D x-ray to determine exactly what adjustments are necessary to correct this.
By using a 3D x-ray image of the patient standing under gravity, we obtained true three dimensional information that showed exactly how the L5 vertebra was resting on the sacrum. In 3D it is visible that only the left side of the vertebra was touching. This information allowed a determination of a precise treatment path to be undertaken without the need for surgery or the fear of causing further damage.
Within three weeks of commencement of treatment, the patient was able to ambulate with crutches. At two months she was able to walk without crutches. Our 3D x-ray image process allowed for a full recovery in three months and enabled the patient to begin college and get her life back on the track she wanted, all without the dangers of surgery.
Figure 19 shows a gravity assisted x-ray after treatment where the L5 S1 spacing has been restored to normal.
Figure 17 Various slices of MRI Images taken of the patient. Notice how all spaces between vertebrae appear the same (A).
Figure 18 Gravity assisted x-ray image of the patient. Notice how the space below the L5 vertebra (B) is less than those of the other vertebrae (A).
Figure 19 Gravity assisted x-ray of patient after treatment course determined by using 3D x-ray images. The spacing between all vertebrae is now equal.