In our office, we utilize the most state-of the-art 3D imaging for our patients. This allows us to visualize and measure the upper neck alignment in a way that is completely revolutionary in the chiropractic profession. We are the only chiropractic office in Walnut Creek and the entire East Bay area to utilize this technology in patient care.
Cone Beam computed tomography (CBCT) is a specialized type of X-RAY that can view the Cranio-Cervical Junction (CCJ) in 3 Dimensions (3-D). Unlike traditional X-RAYs that take multiple 2-D images to attempt to view the 3-D human structure, the Cone Beam imaging can view all 3 Dimensions in one scan. The imaging beam is a ‘cone-like’ formation that is moved around the patient to produce the highest quality images of bone. It is able to capture a wide variety of angles in a single scan.
This serves to increase accuracy of diagnosis and ultimately lead to superior patient outcomes while emitting less radiation.
Until recently, CBCT imaging has only been used in a dental setting, as that was the intended design. However, the Upper Cervical Chiropractic world has recently found this imaging to be superior to traditional X-RAY. Here are some answers to common questions that patients have:
What are the benefits of 3-D imaging?
- More accurate diagnosis
- Less Radiation
- Better image quality
- Wider variety of viewing angles
- Easier patient experience
- More precise treatment planning
Why is viewing the upper neck in 3-D so important?
Since the human structure is 3 dimensional, it is vital to view it with 3-D imaging in order to accurately evaluate the alignment. Traditional XRAY is 2-Dimensional, so certain factors like anatomical variations, positioning errors, and asymmetry of structures can result in misdiagnosis some of the time. Until now, traditional XRAY, while flawed, was simply the best form of imaging we had available for the spine. Cone Beam imaging has changed that.
How does the radiation exposure compare to that of typical XRAY?
The radiation exposure is much less than standard XRAY. Standard scan is 237 microsieverts, equivalent to about 1/10 the radiation exposure of a standard 4-view Cervical spine XRAY series. This is the equivalent to the exposure of a 5 hour airplane flight. We feel strongly that the small additional risk from radiation exposure is much less than the risk of inaccurate diagnosis or treatment from proceeding with the knowledge provided by a CBCT scan.
How does the 3-D imaging change expected clinical results?
Because of the increased information provided by the 3-D imaging, results are expected to be even greater than with traditional imaging and treatment planning more precise. With the use of software, the doctor can manipulate and measure the images in order to view the upper neck anatomy and surrounding structures with incredible clarity.
How long does the imaging take?
How does the procedure work?
The patient is standing with the head in a supported position. You will be asked to remain very still while the arm of the unit rotates around your head by 360 degrees, capturing multiple images from every angle. This experience is very similar to a panoramic dental X-RAY.