Vertebral Motion Analysis explained
While static diagnostic images such as X-ray and MRI offer a noninvasive way for physicians to examine the interior of the body, in some cases, they are unable to tell the full diagnostic story. This is particularly true for pain and other symptoms related to spine conditions, due to the intricate construction and high volume of moving parts in this part of the body. It can often be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pain with a single still image, which in turn can make it harder to develop effective treatment.
This is where a new technology known as vertebral motion analysis, or VMA, provides a solution. VMA uses a device that takes X-ray images in real time, creating a video that allows physicians to analyze spinal motion to see how it may be contributing to chronic pain and mobility problems.
Why is VMA used?
The spine is an extremely important part of the body, but it is also highly complex. In order to perform multiple functions, including supporting the upper body, protecting the central nervous system and allowing for basic movement, the spine is made of many interconnected parts. Spine conditions including herniated and bulging discs and arthritis can develop due to age and injury, causing problems up and down the neck and back.
In some cases, a physician looking at a static MRI or X-ray may see multiple issues that could potentially be the source of pain and symptoms. By being able to take a moving image, doctors can see how certain movements affect the joints and discs in the spine while patients report whether or not they are feeling pain. This information can be highly useful in determining an appropriate course of treatment from conservative therapy to surgery.
Why USA Spine Care Offers Vertebral Motion Analysis
- Controlled Motion: bolstered & guided motion improves sensitivity and maintains specificity (Davis, IJSS, 2015)
- Reduced Radiation Setting: Pulsed fluoro (8 frames per second) proven accurate for repeatable (Yeager, Spine J, 2014)
- Less Total Radiation: 25% less radiation compared to a four view flexion/extension x-ray series (Mellor, Radiography, 2014)
- Includes Classic Flexion/Extension: for comparison and calculation
- Stabilization & Detailed Views: Isolates individual vertebral levels to get both quantitative and visual information. Any caudal vertebral body can be stabilized for assessment
- Quantified output: report of spinal motion, repeatable, independent
- Data: Spine Journal 2013 Runner Up Paper of the Year
- Generally Covered by Insurers
What to expect during a VMA procedure
The first step in VMA involves the patient entering the machine, which typically resembles a standard imaging device with large mechanical arms attached. Next, the patient is gently guided by the machine through a number of spinal movements that are recorded by the technician. The movements should not cause discomfort, but devices will have a means for the patient to halt testing if they do feel pain.
The imagery is then processed by a computer program that performs measurements designed to deliver a more precise and accurate movement-based diagnosis.
Vertebral Motion Analysis Cost
Cost to have a VMA performed can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage. USA Spine Care facilities accept patients with Medicare, most private health insurances, as well as workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. One of our representatives can answer any questions you have about cost.
USA Spine Care can help diagnose your neck or back pain
If neck or back pain related to a spine condition is taking you away from the people and activities you love, receiving a proper diagnosis should be the first step on your treatment journey. The highly skilled surgeons at USA Spine Care utilize the latest advances in both diagnosis and treatment of common spine conditions. To learn more, contact our caring and dedicated team today.
Call toll free 1- 866-249-1627.