Musculoskeletal Radiology uses a number of imaging technologies to diagnose common bone and joint conditions.
The technologies used include MRI, CT, radiography, and ultrasound. These technologies, combined with the subspecialty expertise of our radiologists, aid referring physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
MRI is the method of choice for imaging of the musculoskeletal system and is widely used for evaluation of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. It can also accurately depict abnormalities within the bone marrow and it has many applications in the cardiovascular system. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) utilizes the physical properties of magnetic fields, radio waves, and computers to generate images of the body in order to visualize internal organs and to obtain diagnostic information.
CT technology utilizes a highly sensitive X-ray beam that is focused on a specific part of the body. Generally, CT provides much better visualization of bone detail than MRI. CT scans provide excellent information on anatomical features and tissue density (this allows for the detection of tumors, and sometimes the ability to distinguish between malignant and benign tumors). CT scans can also detect calcium deposits, cysts, and abscesses.
Nuclear medicine, in the form of a bone scan, employs radioisotopes to evaluate osseous structures. The principal advantage of this technique is the ability to image the entire body with one exam, which is invaluable in determining multifocality of numerous disease processes. Furthermore, it permits an assessment of metabolic bone activity, which can be exceptionally helpful as a problem-solving tool in several clinical scenarios.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of soft tissue structures, such as muscles, tendons, skin, and subcutaneous tissues of a joint. Ultrasound is useful in identifying diseased or damaged tissues, locating abnormal growths, and detecting a wide variety of conditions. It is also a safe imaging alternative for pregnant women.
DXA scan is the preferred technique for measuring bone strength, density, and mineral content. It is painless and very effective in the diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis. DXA scanning is generally performed on the hip and spine.
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