Musculoskeletal imaging or musculoskeletal radiology is a sub-specialization under diagnostic radiology. It involves the interpretation of medical images of the bones, soft tissues, and the joints. It also includes the diagnosis of injuries and diseases of these anatomical parts.
There are several methods of musculoskeletal radiology. They are as follows:
- X-rays/plain radiography – it’s a method for conducting an imaging of the body structures or parts of the body. It uses a very high level of energy that allows the X-ray beams to penetrate through the body. This results to a creation of an image.
- Fluoroscopy – this method utilizes a continuous X-ray to create moving images of the soft tissues and joints.
- CT Scan – it’s used to get a very detailed picture of the structures of the body part being scanned. The method involves the use of X-rays to take images in tiny slices through the specified part of the body.
- Ultrasound – it uses high-frequency waves to produce a picture or image onto a screen showing the insides of one’s body. One advantage of this is that this doesn’t involve the use of radiation.
- Imaging-guided pain management – this refers to the use of digital fluoroscopic X-ray and ultrasound in targeting an area meant for treatment or management of pain.
What You Need to Know About Musculoskeletal Radiology
While musculoskeletal radiology offers a number of good things, there are several points you need to know first before you even undergo such operation.
- It can be more detailed than an MRI
While it might be too complicated to validate this statement on our own, musculoskeletal radiology in general offers more detailed images. However, this will still depend on the type of musculoskeletal ultrasound transducer.
- Response from the patient allows radiologists to pinpoint a specific pain source
In an MRI, the level of pain can be indicated by using a vitamin capsule. Musculoskeletal imaging, on the other hand, involves pressing specific areas on the skin. This is often done at a “painful area”, after which the technician will then visualize a depression in the same area. This allows technicians to determine the source of pain in real time.
While various abnormalities are always present on the imaging, pinpointing the pain source is important in order to treat it properly.
- The imaging will display any visualization of implants
If you have metal implants, you are strongly advised against an MRI procedure. Musculoskeletal radiology is incredibly helpful to patients who still suffer from pain following a surgical procedure. There’s been a number of cases where patients complained of extreme pain due to a surgically implanted material. With a musculoskeletal procedure, it is possible to see such complication.
- The procedure is dynamic and happens in real time
The great thing about musculoskeletal radiology is that it visualizes imaging in real time. This is as opposed to MRI that only produces a “static image”. In musculoskeletal imaging, however, you can actually watch a joint moving in and out of place.
You see, there are lots of amazing benefits you can gain from musculoskeletal radiology. However, the cost may vary depending on the practitioner, but we’re not going to talk about that here.