Orthopaedics, P.C. offers comprehensive diagnostic evaluations of orthopaedic injuries and disorders. With the advancements in digital X-rays and MRIs, our providers are able to identify problems with bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments and soft tissue throughout the body.
X-rays (radiographs) are the most common and widely-used diagnostic imaging technique. Even if you also need more sophisticated tests, you will probably get an X-ray first to rule out any fractures of the affected body part.
The part of your body being pictured is positioned between the X-ray machine and the digital X-ray sensor. You have to hold still while the machine briefly sends electromagnetic waves (radiation) through your body, exposing the film to reflect your internal structure. The level of radiation exposure from X-rays is not harmful, but your doctor will take special precautions if you are pregnant. Make sure you tell your doctor or technician if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
Bones, calcifications, some tumors and other dense matter appear white or light because they absorb the radiation. Less dense soft tissues and breaks in bone let radiation pass through, making these parts look darker on the X-ray film.
You will probably be X-rayed from several different angles. If you have a fracture in one limb, your doctor may want a comparison X-ray of your uninjured limb. Your X-ray session will probably be finished within 10 or 15 minutes.
X-rays may not show as much detail as an image produced with more sophisticated techniques. They are, however, the most common imaging tool used to evaluate an orthopedic problem and are readily available in most doctors’ offices.
Orthopaedics, P.C. offers an open MRI machine to get a more comprehensive look at the body than an X-ray. An X-ray is the first step to diagnosing an injury, but X-rays mostly only show bones. An MRI can look at the bones, ligaments, tendons, soft tissue and organs. No radiation exposure is present with MRIs.
Imaging taken via MRI takes longer to obtain than X-rays. Whereas an X-ray may take 10 to 15 minutes, an MRI can take up to an hour. MRI images are taken in cross-sections of the affected body part and several images are taken to ensure a complete, accurate picture. The patient must hold very still during imaging so the most accurate images can be taken.
Open MRI machines, like the one at Orthopaedics, P.C., are good for patients who are claustrophobic. There is no moving table or tube they have to lie still in for up to an hour. MRI machines also make loud knocking sounds when in use, but patients are often given headphones to listen to music while their images are being taken.
Just as with X-rays, you should tell your doctor or technician if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant. Special precautions may be taken if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker device in your heart, tattoos, piercings or other metal implants. Make sure your doctor and technician are aware of any of these if you are scheduled for an MRI.