New and innovative technologies are helping spine specialists diagnose spine-related conditions and treat them with less invasive procedures. This means that patients can restore their spine health quicker and with less pain.

New technologies in diagnosing spine health concerns 

As with many health conditions, it's difficult to know exactly what's happening in the body without medical imaging. Historically, X-ray and MRI have been the go-to tests for examining a patient's spine and informing a diagnosis. This traditional method is a good starting point, but with seven cervical, 12 thoracic, five lumbar, and the complex sacropelvic articulation that make up the spine—not to mention the tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves associated with keeping our bodies upright—they lack a level of precise detail. New imaging technologies such as EOS full body imaging, 3D assessments, CT scans, and advanced sequence MRIs are helping orthopedic spine specialists see inside the body with a greater level of detail for more precise diagnoses. 

Computer and AI assistance for more personalized care 

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is being integrated into daily lives at an incredible pace. One area in which AI is increasingly being utilized is healthcare, and for good reason. By inputting a patient's signs or symptoms, along with their imaging results, a doctor is better able to quickly pinpoint exactly why a patient may be having back or spine pain, and generate treatment options that are unique and personalized to each patient. 

Exciting technologies in spine surgery and rehabilitation 

While surgery is always the last option after other, less-invasive therapies, it does sometimes become a patient's best chance for restoring spine health. Robot-assisted surgeries have been around for a few years and have been shown to enhance the safety of spine surgery. By using AI tools and a robotic surgery platform, surgeons are able to better visualize and plan a procedure, and more precisely target the areas for surgical intervention.

Additionally, after surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitative services are prescribed to help patients with spinal conditions. There are new technologies being used in those areas, too. Virtual reality programs offer patients an immersive experience to improve their strength and overall spine health, as well as preparing them to return home and back to normal activities following surgery. 

If you find that a neck or back issue is keeping you from doing what you love, the spine specialists at Lifespan Orthopedics Institute can help you regain your spine health. Learn more about our services on our website.

Alan H. Daniels, MD

Dr. Alan H. Daniels is a board-certified spine surgeon who specializes in adult spinal deformity and other complex spinal disorders. He serves as chief of spine for the Orthopedic Department at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, part of the Lifespan Orthopedics Institute. He is also director of spine surgery research, an associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and co-director of the Brown Spine Surgery Fellowship.