Rustici Wellness Center
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Case Studies

Case 1: Wheelchair 

A 21 year old female entered the office in a wheelchair. Any attempt by her to stand caused extreme pain in her legs leading to an involuntary collapse. For six months, she had been wheelchair bound as the result of a gradual deterioration of her condition. The original injury was sustained playing sports at the age of 17. 

During this time she had consulted numerous physicians about her condition. MRI images showed a complete disk prolapse and annular fiber tears. This was causing the disk to pinch her spinal cord at the L5 S1, interrupting neural signals and causing extreme pain and loss of motor function in her lower body. In Figure 17, three different slices of an MRI image show the disc pinching the spinal cord below the L5 vertebra. 

Multiple doctors refused to attempt any noninvasive treatments on the patient as they were fearful of causing further damage, potentially leading to paralysis. The patient’s mother was devastated because everyone had told them that surgery was the only possible treatment, and that option was dangerous as well as providing no guarantee her daughter would be able to walk again. The patient was referred to our office by a doctor familiar with our 3D x-ray imaging process. 

Using 3D X-ray to produce true three dimensional x-ray images, information missing from all other tests was gleaned. All vertebrae in the MRI images shown in Figure 17 appear to have equal spacing between them (see item A) which is due to the fact that all MRIs are taken lying down as they require the patient to not move for upwards of 45 minutes. In a gravity assisted x-ray image (Figure 18) of her back taken while the patient was strapped standing in place using our locking device, it can be seen that part of the L5 vertebra makes contact with the sacrum (see item B). However, there is not enough information in the 2D x-ray to determine exactly what adjustments are necessary to correct this. 

By using a 3D x-ray image of the patient standing under gravity, we obtained true three dimensional information that showed exactly how the L5 vertebra was resting on the sacrum. In 3D it is visible that only the left side of the vertebra was touching. This information allowed a determination of a precise treatment path to be undertaken without the need for surgery or the fear of causing further damage. 

Within three weeks of commencement of treatment, the patient was able to ambulate with crutches. At two months she was able to walk without crutches. Our 3D x-ray image process allowed for a full recovery in three months and enabled the patient to begin college and get her life back on the track she wanted, all without the dangers of surgery. 

Figure 19 shows a gravity assisted x-ray after treatment where the L5 S1 spacing has been restored to normal.


Figure 17

Various slices of MRI Images taken of the patient. Notice how all spaces between vertebrae appear the same (A). 

Figure 18

Gravity assisted x-ray image of the patient. Notice how the space below the L5 vertebra (B) is less than those of the other vertebrae (A). 

Figure 19

Gravity assisted x-ray of patient after treatment course determined by using 3D x-ray images. The spacing between all vertebrae is now equal.

Case 2: Blind Girl 

A 7-year-old girl entered the office. Eight months prior, she had fallen out of a tree and subsequently began experiencing visual disturbances. Shortly thereafter she was declared legally blind. Numerous visits to a local children’s hospital with multiple MRI and CT scans performed resulted in no clear reason found for her vision problems. A diagnosis of idiopathic blindness was given, which essentially means they had no idea of the cause of her symptoms. 

Medications were offered as a possible treatment, but the prescribing physician said their effectiveness would be a longshot at best, and the potential side effects were very serious including increased chance of developing cancer. The parents were not willing to risk these potential side effects until a conclusive diagnosis was established. 

The hardware we designed limited patient movement so we were able to take accurate 3D x-rays of this patient. After taking the 3D x-ray Images. By viewing these images for the first time in all three dimensions, multiple diagnoses were found. 

The spatial information present in the 3D image revealed a fracture of the C2 dens from the trauma, a diagnosis that is hard to make from traditional imaging techniques as they are viewed in only two planes. The C2 dens is located in the center of the skull and suffers from being obscured from view due to superimposed structures. The location of this fracture is highlighted by item A in the 2D x-ray image shown in Figure 20. 

Furthermore, a congenital anomaly of the posterior arch of the atlas vertebra was also revealed and can be seen in item A of Figure 21. The scope of this anomaly was fully discovered while viewing it in 3D. The posterior arch of the atlas had inverted toward the brainstem, resulting in pressure to the mesencephalon region of the brainstem, a region that houses the superior colliculus, a structure vital to vision and often referred to as the visual cortex. 

It was determined that the fall induced a C1 displacement which, in combination with the congenital malformation, caused the vertebra to apply pressure to the visual cortex, resulting in the patient’s ailments. 

Knowing this information allowed for appropriate treatment to be rendered. The patient was beside herself with joy on the follow up visit. The entire office was brightened that day as she could be heard throughout, joyfully yelling for people to hold up fingers because she was going to count them. Patient has fully recovered and is able to see, thanks to 3D x-ray images.

Figure 20

2D x-ray image of image pair used for 3D x-ray image generation. It is difficult to see, but the area highlighted by A shows a small fracture that was only found when observing in 3D. 

Figure 21

2D representation of a 3D x-ray image showing a congenital anomaly of the posterior arch of the atlas vertebra, causing the vertebra to push against the brainstem.

Case 3: Motorcycle Accident 

A 42 year old patient was brought into the office by his mother. The patient was an unfortunate victim of a severe motorcycle crash in which he was thrown over forty yards in the air. He awoke from a two month coma with his head fused to his chest. He was lucky to be alive, but had his chin fused to his chest in part due to metal pins installed in his neck because of the spinal cord swelling. 

He had lost the use of his arms with only random and intermittent muscle firing as the C4/5/6/7 had nearly fused together and blocked neurological function from damaged intervertebral foramen. The only treatment offered was an intensive multi part surgery involving cutting all the back muscles, breaking the fused vertebrae, inserting titanium rods to support his skull from constantly looking at the ground, and then re-attaching the back muscles. The fused vertebrae can be clearly seen in Figure 22. There are many complications and long term side effects from a procedure of this magnitude. Further, he was told the damage to the nerves leading to his arms was permanent. 

Not willing to risk his life to be simply fused in a different position, he sought other opinions. Most physicians offered no solutions or were not willing to attempt treatment due to possible further damage to the central nervous system. 

Nearly two years after the accident, he was referred to our office. 3D x-rays were taken and viewed. By having the information in all three planes, we were able to determine and start a treatment course. The added information gained from this technology allowed the gradual reversal of the trauma to the spine without the need for invasive procedures. It also enabled a greatly reduced fear of causing further damage to the central nervous system, enabling treatment to be performed that no other physicians would risk. 

The gradual recovery can be seen in Figure 23 and Figure 24. The patient had full use of his arms after six months of treatments (Figure 23). He ultimately regained a near normal range of motion (Figure 24). His mother was unable to hold back the tears. 3D x-ray images and Dr. Wade Rustici had given her son his life back. 

Figure 22

42 year old motorcycle accident patient with his neck fused to his chest.

Figure 23

42 year old motorcycle patient after 6 months of treatment course determined using 3D x-ray images to view and analyze the information.

Figure 24

Due to treatment course determined using 3D x-ray images, patient regained nearly normal range of motion after 1 year of treatment.