Musculoskeletal Imaging | RadNet Northern California
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Musculoskeletal Imaging Image

Musculoskeletal imaging addresses potential disorders related to a patient’s spine, bones, joints, muscles, soft tissues, ligaments and tendons. Evaluation of torn tendons, arthritis, cancer, systemic disease and post-traumatic injuries can all be made by musculoskeletal radiologists.

Some Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedures Include:

Arthrogram

An arthrogram is an X-ray exam of a joint, using a contrast agent and fluoroscopy (a live motion X-Ray). It is used to diagnose the cause of pain or restricted motion of a joint as well as injury to the components of the joint including, the tendons, soft tissues, ligaments, labrum, cartilage and bones. Often this procedure is used to image the shoulder and hip joints, and it is also used when investigating the knees, elbows, ankles and wrists. CT and MRI may also be used to gain additional images of the joint.

Biopsy

Biopsies (removal of tissue for investigation) may be performed with the guidance of CT, MR, ultrasound or X-ray images. If a lesion is discovered, a bone biopsy is performed through the skin to determine whether cancer or infection is present.

Bone Density Scan (DEXA)

A dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan measures the density and mineral content in bone, most often in the hip or lower spine. It is the most accurate method of determining bone density and potential problems related to bone loss. This test is a valuable tool for diagnosing osteoporosis, which often has no symptoms until you suffer a fracture. A bone density scan can diagnose the disease at its earliest stages, which means you can begin receiving treatment to protect your bones sooner.

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

This exam is part of a sophisticated high-speed CT exam of the heart. During the scan, which takes just seconds, the equipment measures the amount of calcium present and calculates a score. The lower the score, the lower the potential risk of an adverse future cardiac injury. (Calcium often covers the atherosclerotic plaque that builds up inside arteries.  This plaque and calcium can lead to narrowing of the inside of the arteries which could in turn lead to an increased risk of angina, and a heart attack.) This test can assess coronary heart disease, which is often asymptomatic and is the most common cause of death for patients in the United States.

Discography

Discography is a procedure used to confirm that an abnormal disc is the culprit of pain. It is often used prior to a more invasive surgical procedure, to gather more information before that next step is taken. A contrast agent is introduced, and after the procedure a CT scan identifies leakage from the discs to identify any spinal disc herniation.

Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are procedures that treat spinal fractures or compressed / collapsed vertebrae, often performed by a neuroradiologist. Vertebroplasty is the injection of a cement-like material into the bone to make it more stable. In kyphoplasty, the doctor first creates space by inflating a balloon-like device in the bone. The space is then filled with the cement material.

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