Our practice offers onsite X-ray and MRI facilities to make evaluation faster and access to the studies more convenient. Our Orthopedic Doctors may order and review X-rays at the time of your office visit to immediately assist in the diagnosis and treatment. MRI studies can be scheduled in order to obtain additional, more detailed information.
What Is An X-ray?
An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body- particularly your bones and joints. X-ray beams can pass through your body, but they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up as white on X-rays. The air in your lungs shows up as black. Fat and muscle look like varying shades of gray.
X-rays typically help diagnose fractures, dislocations, disc injuries, degenerative/arthritic conditions and bone and joint alignment. They are also often used to monitor healing of fractures and healing after surgical procedures.
What Is An MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. It is a noninvasive way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that help diagnose a variety of problems. The machine generates a magnetic field that is totally free of any dangerous radiation. This field temporarily aligns the water molecules in your body and emits a signal that can be used to create detailed images of your body. MRI provides much greater detail than an X-ray as it can provide detailed images of you soft tissues and organs in addition to bone.
MRI may be used to help evaluate joint disorders, disc abnormalities of the spine, injuries to muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues.
Before an MRI exam, eat normally and continue to take your usual medications, unless otherwise instructed. You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove: Jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, watches, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, underwire bras, and any other metallic objects. The presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or affect a portion of the MRI image. Tell the technologist if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as metallic joint prostheses, artificial heart valves, pacemakers, implantable heart defibrillator, metal clips from aneurysm repair, cochlear implants, retained shrapnel or bullet fragments.
An MRI typically lasts about an hour. You must hold very still because movement can blur the resulting images. In some cases, contrast agents are injected into your veins to enhance the appearance of certain tissues or blood vessels in the images.
During the MRI scan, the internal part of the magnet produces repetitive tapping, thumping sounds and other noises. Earplugs or music may be provided to help block the noise. If you are worried about feeling claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, talk to your doctor beforehand. He or she may make arrangements for you to receive a sedative before the scan.
It's also important to discuss any kidney or liver problems with your physician and the technologist, because problems with these organs may impose limitations on the use of injected contrast agents during your scan.
The diagnostic imaging studies used by our orthopedic physicians include: