Tag: x-ray

Cervical Spine X-Ray Lesson – LMFAO

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

This post is real simple. The goal is to provide an easy to remember acronym to be used when identifying 5 important parts related to the human cervical spine (neck) as shown on the following x-ray. Landmarks highlighted with red letters identify the parts to be remembered.

LMFAO - Cervical Spine X-Ray

LMFAO – Cervical Spine X-Ray

L stands for Lamina – In the cervical spine, the lamina is thin area of bone that helps create a protective ring over the spinal cord. The surgical procedure involving the removal of lamina is referred to as a Laminectomy. The procedure may be performed in cases when a ruptured spinal disc may need to be removed or when bone spurs are putting pressure on the spinal cord.

M stands for Muscle – When taking x-rays on exceptionally muscular individuals, the seventh cervical vertebrae and first thoracic vertebrae areas of the spine may not be as visible on a lateral film. On the x-ray shown above, only six bones in the neck can be counted. In some cases, having an individual hold an object in each arm (such as a 5 pound weight) while relaxing their shoulder muscles, can help improve viewing of this area on x-ray.

F stands for Foramina – Two nerves exit the spine at each cervical vertebra and they pass through the foramina, one on the left and one on the right. Many people don’t realize nerves exit at each level of the cervical spine. It’s not uncommon that tingling or numbness felt in one’s arms and hands can be the result of pressure on nerves in one’s neck. Foramina is the plural term and neural foramen is the term to identify a single area.

A stands for Atlas – Positioned at the very top of the spine is the first cervical vertebrae, sometimes referred to as C1 or the Atlas. The atlas features two thick bony arches that form a large opening for the spinal cord to pass through. It is the spinal bone located nearest to the brainstem and it is often identified by chiropractors as the most important vertebrae to be in adjustment.

O stands for Occiput – The Occiput is an area of bone located at the base of the skull. It is an important lateral cervical spine x-ray landmark commonly used in identifying location and positioning of the first cervical vertebrae (Atlas). A skeletal abnormality sometimes seen in the upper cervical spine is known as atlanto-occipital fusion, or occipitalization of the atlas.

So there is your anatomy lesson for the day. Go ahead and show your friends how smart you are.

L amina
M uscle
F oramina
A tlas
O cciput

easily remembered as LMFAO

X-Ray of Blogging Hand

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Have you ever wondered what your hand would look like on an x-ray while using your mouse? Probably not. Either way, I was experiencing some numbness in my right thumb after several days of excessive blogging activity and I thought it would be interesting to see how the bones in my wrist and hand were lining up along with my mouse.

I started with my Microsoft cordless mouse and placed it on the cassette that holds the x-ray film. Don’t try this at home.

Microsoft cordless mouse x

I set the radiology unit on a timer so I’d have time to position my hand properly over the mouse before the exposure was made.

blogging hand before x-ray

On a normal hand or wrist x-ray one might just want to see the carpal bones (bones of the wrist) or the carpal and metacarpal bones (larger bones in the hand). In this case I wanted to see all 8 carpal bones, all 5 carpal bones, the five metacarpals, the phalanges, and the distal phalanges (fingertips). I also needed to not over or under expose the image.

blogging hand x-ray

Success! The tips of my fingers (distal phalanges) are a bit overexposed but the thumb view came out clearly and that’s what I was most interested in. The really bright white areas are metallic parts of the mouse. On x-rays, areas of the most density area typically appear the whitest. The plastic casing of the mouse barely shows up, nor does most of the soft tissue of my hand, except for that meaty area between my first and second carpal bones (thumb and index finger).

After studying the image I discovered I’d been using my thumb frequently to motion the mouse to the right (notice it’s in an unnatural bent position). That resulted in additional strain that could be avoided. I ended up switching to a smaller and more lightweight mouse (Microsoft Notebook Optical Mouse 3000) and started using a 3M mousing surface to allow for easier glide. These were small changes, but they’ve made a big difference.