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The Importance of Proper Medical Testing After a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Feb 20, 2015 - Spine Injury by

It is natural to turn to the family doctor for virtually any medical complaint. This is the physician who has done everything from treating colds to setting broken bones for all family members, sometimes throughout their lives. Even in the case of serious injuries to the spinal cord, the family doctor has access to the detailed medical history that is essential to providing the best care. However, to ensure an accurate diagnosis and provide the most effective treatment, they should refer their patients to appropriate medical specialists.

Even with the best medical treatment, some SCI accident victims face a lifetime of disability. Without receiving comprehensive testing and treatment immediately after the injury, however, patients can fail to heal to the fullest possible extent.

Spinal Cord Injuries Require Extensive Testing

The first steps in SCI diagnosis are similar, whether a patient visits the family doctor or a specialist. In addition to obtaining a medical history to identify any prior injuries or medical conditions that might affect the diagnosis or treatment, doctors conduct a thorough physical exam to help isolate the areas of concern. Then, as the Mayo Clinic explains, those patients can expect any of the following tests:

  • X-rays: Even a family physician may have X-ray equipment, which can reveal certain issues, such as bone fractures and structural damage to the spine.
  • CT scans: Not commonly found in the typical doctor’s office, CT equipment is more sensitive than X-rays, providing a series of cross-sectional images that reveal issues with the bones, disks and other spinal components, including damage to the soft tissue and even blood vessels.
  • MRIs: These massive and powerful machines are typically available at hospitals. They can provide the most detailed look at the spinal cord, revealing herniated disks, blood clots and other masses that may be causing the symptoms.

While specialists may choose to avoid additional testing or treatment while swelling is present, they also need to conduct special tests later to help identify the full extent of the injury and the prognosis. In some cases, they provide means for immobilization and send patients home. Other patients may need immediate hospitalization.

Timing Can Make a Difference

It is not typically possible to reverse spinal cord damage. This is why it is not uncommon for SCI treatment to begin at the scene of the accident. By properly immobilizing the injured area, emergency workers help minimize further damage to the spine to help ensure the best possible outcome.

Clearly, every moment that prevents additional damage can have a profound effect on every aspect of the patient’s life, probably for years into the future.

How an Experienced Charlotte Spine Injury Attorney Can Make a Difference

Anyone who sustains SCI as a result of negligent or wrongful acts of other parties can certainly expect a skilled spinal cord injury law firm to provide the legal support needed to develop an effective injury case. Additionally, the attorneys have access to a network of skilled medical specialists, allowing them to provide referrals that can make a notable difference to a patient’s recovery. To gain access to this type of comprehensive support, call us at 844-452-3688, or use our convenient online contact form.