METHODS: Decision analysis with a decision tree was used in this study. Factors used in the analysis were radiation dose, ease of implementation, image quality, cost, and patient comfort. Data on these factors were gathered by reviewing the literature.
RESULTS: Radiation dose was found to be the only factor with significant differences between the posterior-to-anterior (PA) position and the anterior-to-posterior (AP) position, and PA films gave lower doses to sensitive organs as compared with AP films. There is also some evidence that PA films show better overall image quality as compared with AP films.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the information used in this study, lumbar spine plain film radiographs should be obtained in the PA position.
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