When patients present with certain symptoms, our team of orthopedic specialists uses a variety of diagnostic imaging to better understand the injury or ailment in which the patient is experiencing. Some forms of radiology can provide great insight, to where other areas of imaging may be limited, but knowing the pros and cons to these imaging devices can help patients become more active in their own health decisions.
The most basic diagnostic test ordered by an orthopedic doctor is an X-ray. An X-ray is usually ordered when the physician needs to evaluate a bone and this is done by shining a small amount of radiation through the part of the body that needs to be evaluated. The X-ray itself is a simple process and provides useful information about the bones, however, an x-ray is only two dimensional so another diagnostic testing is sometimes needed to see the bigger picture.
A CT scan or a Computed Tomography scan is much like an X-ray however it provides a three-dimensional view to the body and provides great angles to bones and joints unlike like an x-ray. The downside to a CT scan is that they can be more time consuming than that of an x-ray and they also give off more radiation. Although a CT scan is three dimensional, it does not provide a clear picture of ligaments and tendons which can make diagnosing soft tissue injuries difficult.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often used to evaluate soft tissue. With this test, the patient will lie down in a machine surrounded by a magnetic field. The test creates three-dimensional pictures when the magnetic field causes the molecules in the body to vibrate. The plus side to this test is that it provides detailed images of the body as well as no exposure to radiation. Some patients, however, have concerns with this form of diagnostic testing due to fears of claustrophobia but our orthopedic doctors will consider your concerns and make sure that your experience is one that leaves you feeling comfortable and relaxed.
A bone scan is a diagnostic test where mildly radioactive material is injected into your vein and then circulated throughout the body. Our doctors then track the material by using what is called a Geiger counter which will detect areas of inflammation in the body. This test is nonspecific and only focuses on the part of the body being scanned.
An ultrasound is a diagnostic tool geared towards evaluating tendons such as the Achilles tendon. The benefit to this test is its simplicity however the quality if not performed by someone who has expertise in the area may not be as clear as that of an MRI.
Call Our Team Today For Immediate Support
If you have suffered an injury or deal with chronic pain, call our team of Atlanta orthopedic doctors to discuss if diagnostic imaging may be the next step for you. Dial (404) 855-2141 today to learn more.