Despite the advances made in high-resolution spinal imaging, plain films (radiographs or x-rays) remain a cornerstone of evaluating and caring for spine patients in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative settings. Although often undervalued when compared with more advanced imaging such as MRIs or CT scans, plain films provide surgeons invaluable information that other imaging modalities oftentimes cannot. In addition to their use during surgery for localization or evaluation of hardware placement, x-rays provide an overall image of a patient's spine, are useful in evaluating hardware complications, allow detailed assessment of alignment and stability and allow for repeated images in clinic during follow-up. Plain films continue to provide critical information that cannot be obtained with other imaging modalities, and they remain central to providing optimal care for spine patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1767
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Advanced imaging
  • Alignment
  • Localization
  • Radiographs
  • Spinal surgery
  • X-rays


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