Precise imaging leads to an accurate diagnosis.
An accurate diagnosis helps us tailor the right treatment plan for your orthopedic condition.
At Adventist Health, our specialists use advanced medical imaging to understand what’s causing your pain and recommend personalized treatment options.
We work together with you every step of the way.
What is orthopedic imaging?
Doctors use orthopedic imaging to get a better look at your bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, cartilage and other structures. Along with physical examinations, imaging tests can provide valuable information that leads to an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment possible.
Depending on your condition or injury, your Adventist Health orthopedic surgeon may use imaging tests such as:
- Bone scan: Your doctor will inject a special dye into your body before the scan. The dye helps areas of bone with chemical or biological changes show up on the scan. Bone scans are often used in patients with osteoarthritis; a scan takes about 30 minutes.
- Computed tomography (CT): A CT scan uses x-rays and computer technology to create detailed pictures of body structures. Your doctor may inject a contrast material that makes the body appear more clearly on the images. CT scans usually take 15 to 30 minutes.
- Fluoroscopy: Fluoroscopy uses contrast material and a series of X-ray that allow your doctor to see a real-time “movie” of structures in your body. When used with MRI or CT scans, it’s known as an arthrogram. Fluoroscopy alone takes about 30 minutes.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI scan utilizes magnetic fields to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan is used for diagnosing torn ligaments and cartilage, herniated disks and tumors. An MRI scan usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of soft tissue in the body. In orthopedics, ultrasound is often used to look for blood clots or injuries such as a torn tendon. This scan can take up to 45 minutes.
- X-ray: Also known as a radiograph, an X-ray is commonly used as a first line of imaging. It uses radiation to create images of bones and soft tissue. X-rays typically take up to 15 minutes to perform.
Imaging tests may be used alone or with other procedures. Our orthopedists use orthopedic imaging to provide real-time images to assist with procedures that include:
- Biopsies: Imaging helps pinpoint a precise area for a biopsy (when a doctor removes a tissue sample for examination). It also helps doctors avoid making a large incision.
- Cryoneurolysis: Doctors use imaging before inserting a small probe that freezes nerves to control pain.
- Joint aspirations: Your doctor may use ultrasound for a precise view while he or she drains fluid from a joint.
- Myelograms: A contrast dye and X-rays are used to help your doctor look for problems in the spinal cord, lining and roots of nerves.
- Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections: Imaging can help doctors precisely inject a patient’s own platelets in an area to speed healing.
- Steroid injections: Imaging is used to precisely guide steroid injections that help reduce inflammation.
Learn more about our orthopedics care
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