What are standard evaluation procedures?
Before a treatment or rehabilitation protocol can be established, your child's physician must first determine the reason for, and source of, your child's condition. This typically involves a comprehensive physical examination and a detailed medical history. During this initial gathering of information, be sure to notify your child's physician of any other illnesses, injuries, or complaints that have been associated with the pain or condition, as well as any previous treatments or medications prescribed. Preliminary diagnostic tests may then follow, including:
- Blood tests
- X-rays - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film
- Advanced evaluation procedures:
Children who require further evaluation may undergo one or more of the following:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- Computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called "slices"), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- Myelogram - involves the injection of a dye or contrast material into the spinal canal; a specific x-ray study that also allows careful evaluation of the spinal canal and nerve roots.
- EMG (electromyogram) - a test used to evaluate nerve and muscle function.
- Bone scan - a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone inflammation.
After the evaluative information is collected and reviewed, your child's orthopedist will discuss with you all treatment options and help you select the best treatment plan to enable your child to live an active and functional life.