Using Images of Bones, Joints, & Tissues to Diagnose Conditions

Musculoskeletal radiology uses images of bones, joints, and soft tissues to diagnose and treat orthopedic problems including joint pain, bone problems, and sports injuries.

Our radiologists use imaging studies to take careful pictures of your anatomy. Your doctor will then use these images to accurately diagnose orthopedic problems and create individualized treatment plans. Our musculoskeletal radiologists are experts at interpreting advanced imaging studies and communicating these interpretations to your physician and surgeon.

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How Does Musculoskeletal Radiology Benefit Patients?

Musculoskeletal radiology tests help patients find the best treatment options and recover from injuries more quickly. Doctors can use MSK tests to help guide biopsy (taking samples of tissue or fluid) or perform minimally invasive treatments that don’t require surgery. In many cases, these techniques help patients avoid:

  • hospitalization,
  • general anesthesia,
  • and surgery.

Musculoskeletal Imaging Tests

We interpret the following imaging tests:

  • Traditional radiography (X-ray), which shows details in bones
  • Fluoroscopy, which is an “X-ray movie” that helps doctors observe how bones move and guide where needles and treatment devices are placed
  • Computed tomography (CT), which uses low-dose radiation to create detailed, 3D images
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to create detailed images, especially of the soft tissue surrounding our bones and joints
  • Sonography (ultrasound), which helps doctors study how the soft tissue surrounding your bones and joints functions. Ultrasounds can also help radiologists directly observe how bones work as patients move in real time.
  • Arthrography (traditional, CT, and MR), which use an injected contrast dye to evaluate small details in joints, especially cartilage

MSK treatments can also reduce pain. Some treatments that reduce pain include image-guided therapeutic injections and aspirations. During an aspiration, your doctor will inject medication and may remove fluid to help relieve pain in certain areas. Removing fluid can also help us diagnose other problems.

Our musculoskeletal radiologists are experts at interpreting these studies. Your treatment team has access to a wide range of advanced imaging techniques at the University Orthopaedic Center.

Safety & Quality

We are committed to a safe environment for patients who have X-ray, fluoroscopy, and CT scans. This means we carefully track the amount of radiation patients are exposed to, and only use the minimum amount we need to take good images.

For MRI, this means we prepare patients for the scan and the scanner, making sure that all metal objects are left outside of the MRI room and that patients know what to expect. For our minimally invasive procedures like arthrography and biopsies, we train and practice extensively to make sure we provide precise, efficient, and successful procedures for our patients.

We’ve also invested in the most advanced imaging equipment to provide the best possible images. Our technicians are experts at knowing how to prepare patients for imaging tests and use our machines appropriately.

All of our musculoskeletal radiologists and our associated nursing and technical staff look forward to serving you when you visit the University Orthopaedic Center.