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Digital Radiography Rapidly Localizes Spine Level

Technique is faster than and as effective as conventional radiography and may reduce costs

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Digital radiography is considerably faster than conventional radiography in localizing the cervical spine level during surgery, which may reduce hospital costs, according to a study in the December issue of The Spine Journal.

Michael P. Steinmetz, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues studied 18 patients undergoing a single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plate and allograft. After exposure of the spine, a spinal needle was placed in the exposed intervertebral disc for localization, at which point 10 patients underwent cervical spine level localization with conventional radiography and eight underwent localization with digital imaging.

The researchers found that digital radiography was significantly faster than conventional radiography (100 versus 823 seconds). They further note that reducing the time for a procedure while keeping other operational factors constant may improve the cost basis for a procedure.

"Digital radiography provides a rapid and accurate technique for intraoperative localization and decreases the cycle time of acquisition of data," the authors write. "It does provide considerable time savings per case and should theoretically improve patient safety."

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