CAM 60146

Dynamic Spinal Visualization

Category:Radiology   Last Reviewed:February 2019
Department(s):Medical Affairs   Next Review:February 2020
Original Date:February 2007    

Description:
Dynamic spinal visualization is a general term addressing different imaging technologies that simultaneously visualize spine (vertebrae) movements and external body movement. Vertebral motion analysis uses similar imaging as dynamic spinal visualization, with the addition of controlled movement and computerized tracking. These technologies have been proposed for the evaluation of spinal disorders including neck and back pain. 

For individuals who have neck or back pain who receive dynamic spinal visualization, the evidence includes comparative trials. Relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, and functional outcomes. Techniques include digital motion x-rays, cineradiography/videofluoroscopy, or dynamic magnetic resonance imaging of the spine and neck. The available studies compare spine kinetics in patients who had neck or back pain with that in healthy controls. No literature was identified on the diagnostic accuracy of dynamic visualization in a relevant patient population. No evidence was identified on the effect of this technology on symptoms or functional outcomes. The evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of the technology on health outcomes. 

For individuals who have back or neck pain who receive vertebral motion analysis, the evidence includes comparisons to standard flexion/extension radiographs. Relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, and functional outcomes. These studies reported that vertebral motion analysis reduces variability in measurement of rotational and translational spine movement compared with standard flexion/extension radiographs. Whether the reduction in variability improves diagnostic accuracy or health outcomes is uncertain. The single study that reported on diagnostic accuracy lacked a true criterion standard, limiting interpretation of findings. The evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of the technology on health outcomes.

Background 
Patient Population 
Dynamic spinal visualization and vertebral motion analysis are proposed for individuals who are being evaluated for back or neck pain and are being considered for standard flexion/extension radiographs. Flexion/extension radiographs may be performed with passive external force or by the patient’s own movement. Typically, radiographs are taken at the end ranges of flexion and extension and the intervertebral movements (rotation and translation) are measured to assess spinal instability. Flexion/extension radiographs may be used to assess radiographic instability in order to diagnose and determine the most effective treatment (eg, physical therapy, decompression, or spinal fusion) or to assess the efficacy of spinal fusion. 

Dynamic Spinal Visualization Digital Motion X-Ray
Most spinal visualization technologies use x-rays to create images either on film, video monitor, or computer screen. Digital motion x-ray involves the use of film x-ray or computer-based x-ray “snapshots” taken in sequence as a patient moves. Film x-rays are digitized into a computer for manipulation, while computer-based x-rays are automatically created in a digital format. Using a computer program, the digitized snapshots are then sequenced and played on a video monitor, creating a moving image of the inside of the body. This moving image can then be evaluated by a physician alone or by using computer software that evaluates several aspects of the body’s structure, such as intervertebral flexion and extension, to determine the presence or absence of abnormalities. 

Videofluoroscopy and Cineradiography 
Videofluoroscopy and cineradiography are different names for the same procedure, which uses fluoroscopy to create real-time video images of internal structures of the body. Unlike standard x-rays, which take a single picture at 1 point in time, fluoroscopy provides motion pictures of the body. The results of these techniques can be displayed on a video monitor as the procedure is being conducted, as well as recorded, to allow computer analysis or evaluation at a later time. Like digital motion x-ray, the results can be evaluated by a physician alone or with the assistance of computer software.

Dynamic Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also being developed to image the cervical spine. This technique uses an MRI-compatible stepless motorized positioning device and a real-time true fast imaging with steady-state precession sequence to provide passive kinematic imaging of the cervical spine. The quality of the images is lower than a typical MRI sequence but is proposed to be adequate to observe changes in the alignment of vertebral bodies, the width of the spinal canal, and the spinal cord. Higher resolution imaging can be performed at the end positions of flexion and extension. 

Vertebral Motion Analysis 
Vertebral motion analysis systems like the KineGraph VMA (Vertebral Motion Analyzer) provide assisted bending with fluoroscopic imaging and computerized analysis. The device uses facial recognition software to track vertebral bodies across the images. Proposed benefits of the vertebral motion analysis are a reduction in patient-driven variability in bending and assessment of vertebral movement across the entire series of imaging rather than at the end range of flexion and extension.

Regulatory Status
In 2012, the KineGraph VMA (Vertebral Motion Analyzer, Ortho Kinematics) was cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the 510(k) process. The system includes a Motion Normalizer for patient positioning, standard fluoroscopic imaging and automated image recognition software. Processing of scans by Ortho Kinematics is charged separately. FDA product code: LLZ. 

Related Policies
60148 Positional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Policy:
The use of dynamic spinal visualization is considered INVESTIGATIONAL.

Vertebral motion analysis is considered INVESTIGATIONAL. 

Policy Guidelines
Cineradiography/videofluoroscopy can be used once per anatomic area with modifier -59 (distinct procedural service) appended to the code when it is used for additional anatomic regions.

These procedures have both a technical and a professional component. 

There is no specific code for vertebral motion analysis and some dynamic spinal visualization techniques. In such circumstances, refer to the unlisted codes in the Codes table.

Benefit Application
BlueCard®/National Account Issues
State or federal mandates (e.g., FEP) may dictate that all devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may not be considered investigational and, thus, these devices may be assessed only on the basis of their medical necessity. 

Rationale 
Evidence reviews assess whether a medical test is clinically useful. A useful test provides information to make a clinical management decision that improves the net health outcome. That is, the balance of benefits and harms is better when the test is used to manage the condition than when another test or no test is used to manage the condition. 

The first step in assessing a medical test is to formulate the clinical context and purpose of the test. The test must be technically reliable, clinically valid, and clinically useful for that purpose. Evidence reviews assess the evidence on whether a test is clinically valid and clinically useful. Technical reliability is outside the scope of these reviews, and credible information on technical reliability is available from other sources. 

Dynamic Spinal Visualization Clinical Context and Test Purpose
The purpose of dynamic spinal visualization is to determine whether the abnormal movement of the spine contributes to neck or back pain. This would inform clinical decision making about the appropriate intervention, either physical therapy or surgery. 

The question addressed in this evidence review is: Does the use of dynamic spinal visualization provide additional information beyond that obtained with conventional imaging technology and does this additional information improve health outcomes?

The following PICOTS was used to select literature relevant to the review. 

Patients 
The relevant population of interest is individuals being evaluated for back or neck pain. 

Interventions 
The test being considered is dynamic spinal visualization. 

Comparators 
The following tests are currently being used to make decisions about managing abnormal movement contributing to back and neck pain: conventional radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

Outcomes 
The outcomes of interest are whether dynamic spinal visualization leads to new findings and whether these findings improve health outcomes, including pain and function. 

Timing 
Short-term outcomes after physical therapy or surgery. 

Setting 
Dynamic spinal visualization is administered in an outpatient setting. 

Technically Reliable 
Assessment of technical reliability focuses on specific tests and operators and requires review of unpublished and often proprietary information. Review of specific tests, operators, and unpublished data are outside the scope of this evidence review and alternative sources exist. This evidence review focuses on the clinical validity and clinical utility. 

Clinically Valid 
A test must detect the presence or absence of a condition, the risk of developing a condition in the future, or treatment response (beneficial or adverse). 

As of the most recent literature update, the evidence on dynamic spinal visualization remains predominantly comparisons of spine kinetics in patients with neck or back pain to healthy controls. 

Systematic Reviews
A systematic by Xu et al (2017) reviewed 13 studies on dynamic supine MRI for patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy, although it appears that the studies evaluated flexion/extension images rather than continuous motion.1,

Case-Control Studies 
Teyhen et al (2007) compared 20 patients with lower back pain to 20 healthy controls to provide construct validity for a clinical prediction rule that would identify patients likely to benefit from stabilization exercises,2, while Ahmadi et al (2009) used digital videofluoroscopy to compare 15 patients who had lower back pain with 15 controls to refine criteria for diagnosing lumbar segmental instability.3,

Clinically Useful 
A test is clinically useful if the use of the results informs management decisions that improve the net health outcome of care. The net health outcome can be improved if patients receive correct therapy, or more effective therapy, or avoid unnecessary therapy, or avoid unnecessary testing. 

Direct Evidence 
Direct evidence of clinical utility is provided by studies that have compared health outcomes for patients managed with and without the test. Because these are intervention studies, the preferred evidence would be from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

No RCTs were identified that support the clinical utility of dynamic spinal visualization for this population. 

The literature evaluating the clinical utility of dynamic spinal visualization techniques, including digital motion x-ray and cineradiography (videofluoroscopy) for the evaluation and assessment of the spine, is limited to a few studies involving small numbers of participants.4,5,6, No evidence was identified to indicate that clinical use improves health outcomes. 

Chain of Evidence 
Indirect evidence on clinical utility rests on clinical validity. If the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate test performance, no inferences can be made about clinical utility. 

Because the clinical validity of dynamic spinal visualization has not been established, a chain of evidence cannot be constructed.

Section Summary: Dynamic Spinal Visualization
The literature evaluating the clinical utility of dynamic spinal visualization techniques, including digital motion x-ray and cineradiography (videofluoroscopy) and dynamic MRI, for the evaluation and assessment of the spine, is limited to a few studies involving small numbers of participants. The available studies have compared spine kinetics in patients who had neck or back pain with that in healthy controls. No literature was identified on the diagnostic accuracy of dynamic visualization in a relevant patient population. No evidence was identified to indicate that clinical use improves health outcomes such as symptoms or function. 

Vertebral Motion Analysis Clinical Context and Test Purpose
The purpose of vertebral motion analysis (VMA) is to determine whether the abnormal movement of the spine contributes to neck or back pain. This would inform clinical decision making about the appropriate intervention, either physical therapy or surgery. VMA might also be used to assess the success of fusion. 

The question addressed in this evidence review is: Does the use of VMA provide additional information beyond that obtained with conventional imaging technology and does this additional information improve health outcomes?

The following PICOTS was used to select literature relevant to the review. 

Patients 
The relevant population of interest is individuals who are being evaluated for back or neck pain and are being considered for standard flexion/extension radiographs. 

Interventions 
The test being considered is VMA. 

Comparators
The following tests are currently being used to make decisions about managing abnormal movement contributing to back and neck pain: conventional radiography and MRI. 

Outcomes 
The outcomes of interest are whether VMA leads to new findings and whether these findings improve health outcomes, including pain and function. 

Timing 
Short-term outcomes after physical therapy or surgery. 

Setting 
VMA is administered in an outpatient setting. 

Technically Reliable 
Assessment of technical reliability focuses on specific tests and operators and requires review of unpublished and often proprietary information. Review of specific tests, operators, and unpublished data are outside the scope of this evidence review and alternative sources exist. This evidence review focuses on the clinical validity and clinical utility. 

Clinically Valid 
A test must detect the presence or absence of a condition, the risk of developing a condition in the future, or treatment response (beneficial or adverse).

Cheng et al (2016) and Yeager et al (2014) reported that VMA decreased variability in the measurement of lumbar spinal movement compared with a digitized manual technique.7,8, Diagnostic performance of VMA was reported by Davis et al (2015) in a retrospective study of 509 symptomatic patients and 73 asymptomatic participants.9, The comparator was rotational and translational movement from flexion/extension radiographs. The investigators considered instability in symptomatic patients to be true- positive and instability in asymptomatic participants as false-positive, leading to reported differences in diagnostic accuracy between standard flexion/extension radiographs and VMA. In the absence of a true reference standard, the interpretation of this study is limited. 

Clinically Useful 
A test is clinically useful if the use of the results informs management decisions that improve the net health outcome of care. The net health outcome can be improved if patients receive correct therapy, or more effective therapy, or avoid unnecessary therapy, or avoid unnecessary testing. 

Direct Evidence 
Direct evidence of clinical utility is provided by studies that have compared health outcomes for patients managed with and without the test. Because these are intervention studies, the preferred evidence would be from RCTs.

No RCTs were identified that support the clinical utility of VMA in this population. 

Chain of Evidence 
Indirect evidence on clinical utility rests on clinical validity. If the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate test performance, no inferences can be made about clinical utility. 

Because the clinical validity of VMA has not been established for this indication, a chain of evidence cannot be constructed. 

Section Summary: Vertebral Motion Analysis 
Three studies with overlapping authors have been identified on VMA. These studies have reported that VMA reduces variability in the measurement of rotational and translational spine movement compared with standard flexion/extension radiographs. One study reported an improvement in diagnostic accuracy compared with flexion/extension radiographs, but the interpretation of this study is limited by the lack of a true reference standard. 

Summary of Evidence 
For individuals who have neck or back pain who receive dynamic spinal visualization, the evidence includes comparative trials. Relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, and functional outcomes. Techniques include digital motion x-rays, cineradiography/videofluoroscopy, or dynamic magnetic resonance imaging of the spine and neck. The available studies compare spine kinetics in patients who had neck or back pain with that in healthy controls. No literature was identified on the diagnostic accuracy of dynamic visualization in a relevant patient population. No evidence was identified on the effect of this technology on symptoms or functional outcomes. The evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of the technology on health outcomes. 

For individuals who have back or neck pain who receive vertebral motion analysis, the evidence includes comparisons to standard flexion/extension radiographs. Relevant outcomes are test accuracy, symptoms, and functional outcomes. These studies reported that vertebral motion analysis reduces variability in measurement of rotational and translational spine movement compared with standard flexion/extension radiographs. Whether the reduction in variability improves diagnostic accuracy or health outcomes is uncertain. The single study that reported on diagnostic accuracy lacked a true criterion standard, limiting interpretation of findings. The evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of the technology on health outcomes.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements 
No guidelines or statements were identified.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations 
Not applicable.

Ongoing and Unpublished Clinical Trials 
A search of ClinicalTrials.gov in August 2018 did not identify any ongoing or unpublished trials that would likely influence this review.

References:

  1. Xu N, Wang S, Yuan H, et al. Does dynamic supine magnetic resonance imaging improve the diagnostic accuracy of cervical spondylotic myelopathy? A review of the current evidence. World Neurosurg. Apr 2017;100:474-479. PMID 28130164 
  2. Teyhen DS, Flynn TW, Childs JD, et al. Arthrokinematics in a subgroup of patients likely to benefit from a lumbar stabilization exercise program. Phys Ther. Mar 2007;87(3):313-325. PMID 17311885 
  3. Ahmadi A, Maroufi N, Behtash H, et al. Kinematic analysis of dynamic lumbar motion in patients with lumbar segmental instability using digital videofluoroscopy. Eur Spine J. Nov 2009;18(11):1677-1685. PMID 19727854
  4. Hino H, Abumi K, Kanayama M, et al. Dynamic motion analysis of normal and unstable cervical spines using cineradiography. An in vivo study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). Jan 15 1999;24(2):163-168. PMID 9926388
  5. Takayanagi K, Takahashi K, Yamagata M, et al. Using cineradiography for continuous dynamic-motion analysis of the lumbar spine. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). Sep 1 2001;26(17):1858-1865. PMID 11568694
  6. Wong KW, Leong JC, Chan MK, et al. The flexion-extension profile of lumbar spine in 100 healthy volunteers. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). Aug 1 2004;29(15):1636-1641. PMID 15284509
  7. Cheng B, Castellvi AE, Davis RJ, et al. Variability in flexion extension radiographs of the lumbar spine: a comparison of uncontrolled and controlled bending. Int J Spine Surg. Jul 2016;10:20. PMID 27441178
  8. Yeager MS, Cook DJ, Cheng BC. Reliability of computer-assisted lumbar intervertebral measurements using a novel vertebral motion analysis system. Spine J. Feb 1 2014;14(2):274-281. PMID 24239805
  9. Davis RJ, Lee DC, Wade C, et al. Measurement performance of a computer assisted vertebral motion analysis system. Int J Spine Surg. Aug 2015;9:36. PMID 26273554

Coding Section

Codes Number Description
CPT 76120 Cineradiography/videoradiograpy, except where specifically incuded
  76125 Cineradiography/videoradiography to complement routine examination (list separately in addition to code for primary procedure)
ICD-9 Diagnosis   Investigational for all relevant diagnoses
ICD-9 Procedure    
HCPCS    
ICD-10CM (effective 10/01/15)   Investigational for all relevant diagnoses
  M54.5 Low back pain
ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/01/15)   ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services.
  BR10ZZZ, BR17ZZZ, BR19ZZZ, BR1GZZZ Imaging, axial skeleton, fluoroscopy, codes for cervical, thoracic, lumbar and whole spine
Type of Service Radiology  
Place of Service Outpatient  

Procedure and diagnosis codes on Medical Policy documents are included only as a general reference tool for each policy. They may not be all-inclusive.

This medical policy was developed through consideration of peer-reviewed medical literature generally recognized by the relevant medical community, U.S. FDA approval status, nationally accepted standards of medical practice and accepted standards of medical practice in this community, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association technology assessment program (TEC) and other non-affiliated technology evaluation centers, reference to federal regulations, other plan medical policies and accredited national guidelines.

"Current Procedural Terminology© American Medical Association.  All Rights Reserved" 

History From 2013 Forward     

02/04/2019 

Annual review, adding investigational statement regarding vertebral motion analysis. Also updating background, description, guidelines, rationale and references. 

02/27/2018 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updating background, description, rationale and references. 

02/06/2017 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. 

02/11/2016 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updating background, description, rationale and references. 

02/24/2015 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updated background, description, rationale and references. Added guidelines and coding.

02/3/2014

Annual review. Added regulatory status and related policies. Updated references. No change to policy intent.


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