Modern technology gives physicians numerous options when it comes to diagnosing their patients’ injuries and illnesses. Some techniques are invasive, while others are minimally invasive or non-invasive. Diagnostic radiology refers to a group of testing methods that utilize non-invasive techniques to identify and monitor certain conditions. The tests sometimes involve a low dose of radiation to produce highly detailed images of an area.
At the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, close collaboration between our surgeons and physicians and our diagnostic radiology team translates to better care for our patients. We recognize the significance of these technologies and stay up-to-date on the latest developments to provide optimal outcomes for a wide range of orthopaedic injuries.
Today, diagnostic radiology is at the core of clinical decision-making in many areas of medicine. There are a variety of imaging procedures that allow healthcare providers to see structures inside your body without making incisions. Because these procedures are completely non-invasive, there is no need for anesthesia, no downtime following the test and no scarring left behind.
Diagnostic radiology exams produce images that are interpreted by doctors who specialize in radiology. They read and report on the resulting images to your referring physician, and if appropriate, they may be involved in recommending treatment or additional tests.
Doctors use radiology for a variety of reasons. Often, our physicians use radiology to diagnose problems they can’t easily see or feel. This information allows them to recommend a suitable course of treatment. Once a treatment plan is in progress, our physicians can also use radiology exams to monitor the way the patient’s body is responding to the treatment.
Radiologists are medical doctors (MDs) who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions using medical imaging techniques. They are certified by the American Board of Radiology. To earn their board certification, they must complete years of training, including graduating from an accredited medical school and completing a four-year residency. Many also choose to do an additional fellowship of very specialized training that lasts one or two years. Board-certified radiologists have strict requirements for continuing medical education throughout their practicing years.
Diagnostic radiology is used to identify a vast spectrum of medical problems, including blood clots, cancers, infections, gastrointestinal issues and more. In orthopaedic medicine, medical imaging is often used to diagnose and monitor conditions like:
• Broken bone
• Torn muscle
• Damaged tendon
• Damaged ligament
• Damaged cartilage
Your safety is a top priority of the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio. Radiologic procedures are medically prescribed and performed by appropriately trained and certified radiologists. While most routine imaging exams involve a small amount of radiation exposure, radiologists are trained to use the lowest radiation dose possible to create the required images. This helps ensure a balanced approach to the safe use of radiology exams that supports their benefits while minimizing the risk to patients.
The following imaging techniques are available at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio:
An X-ray is a quick, painless imaging test that uses a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. When X-ray beams pass through the body, they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they travel through. Dense materials, like bone or metal, appear white on x-ray images. Tissues that are less dense, such as fat and muscle, show up as shades of gray. Air inside the lungs looks black.
X-ray technology is frequently used to examine bones for fractures, infections, tumors or signs of osteoporosis. X-ray scans of the joints can reveal evidence of arthritis or track whether the condition is worsening.
A CT scan (or CAT scan) combines X-rays with computer technology to create a detailed, 3D view of a part of the body. CT scans take a series of X-ray images from different angles around the scanned area and use computer processing to create cross-sectional views (often described as “slices”) of the bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. These images provide more information than standard X-rays do.
A doctor may order a CT scan to diagnose a muscle or bone issue that does not appear on an X-ray. If necessary, a contrast dye will be used to better visualize the area being scanned.
An MRI imaging test uses radio waves and powerful magnets to create pictures of the interior of the body. As with a CT scan, an MRI produces detailed, three-dimensional anatomical images called slices. No ionizing radiation (X-rays) is involved in an MRI scan.
MRI tests are often used for parts of the body that CT scans cannot clearly visualize, particularly the soft tissues. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are seen more clearly with MRI than with X-rays and CT. MRI can also be used to visualize the brain, spinal cord, nerves and internal organs.
Bone densitometry is a specific category of X-ray technology that measures the calcium content of bone. Two X-ray beams, each with a different energy level, are aimed at the bone and used to determine the bone mineral density (BMD). This measurement indicates whether there is decreased bone mass, which makes the bone more brittle and more likely to break or fracture. Bone densitometry can find decreasing bone density at an earlier stage than standard X-rays.
Bone density tests are used primarily to diagnose osteopenia and osteoporosis. They are also used to determine a patient’s future fracture risk.
For optimal patient care, imaging studies are interpreted in a timely manner. The tests performed in our offices are immediately available for your doctor’s review, accelerating the diagnostic process and ensuring treatment can begin as soon as possible.
The Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio serves more than a dozen communities in Ohio. These facilities bring together physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, radiologists and a variety of other healthcare providers to provide one-stop for exceptional orthopaedic care. From the moment you enter one of our offices until you are on the road to recovery, your case is professionally and attentively handled.
For more information, please contact OIO here or call 419-222-6622.