The Importance of Proper Imaging for Diagnoses
The Importance of Proper Imaging for Diagnoses

The New England Journal of Medicine cited medical imaging as one of the top advances in medicine in the past 1,000 years. There is no equivalent tool available for seeing inside the human body, without actually cutting it open.

Diagnosing orthopedic conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system was revolutionized by medical imaging. Orthopaedic surgeons may be incredibly skilled and experienced with diagnosing conditions based on the symptoms of the patient and external appearance or other cues, however, imaging allows your doctor to see inside your skin, viewing details on the extent and position of an injury or condition. There was a time when exploratory surgery was a routine part of diagnosing certain conditions, and this is thankfully no longer necessary in almost all cases due to diagnostic imaging.

There are several common types of imaging that your doctor may recommend, depending on the location and nature of your complaint:

·        Digital X-rays – often the first and only tool needed, useful in diagnosing fractures and dislocations

·        Computerized Tomography (CT scans) – a series of X-rays that gives a more detailed picture

·        Ultrasound – provides real-time accurate images without radiation          

·        Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – especially helpful for diagnosing torn ligaments 

In addition to providing invaluable visual information that helps determine a diagnosis, imaging will show when an injury or condition has healed. It will also indicate whether a treatment has been effective in promoting healing, or if some adjustment in medication or other treatment needs to be made. Not only can diagnostic imaging help orthopedic surgeons give an accurate diagnosis, it can also be utilized to see the progress a patient is having during and after treatment.

Thanks to the use of proper imaging, surgical procedures needed to correct a condition are less invasive or may be avoided all together. Tucson Orthopaedic Institute offers onsite medical imaging using the most advanced technology available. Our patients save valuable time and get diagnosed quickly and accurately, so that treatment can begin without delay. Call one of our conveniently located facilities today for an appointment in the Tucson, Arizona area. 

Find the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute location nearest to you, or request an appointment online right now.


The Importance of Proper Imaging for Diagnosis
The Importance of Proper Imaging for Diagnosis

The New England Journal of Medicine cited medical imaging as one of the top advances in medicine in the past 1,000 years. There is no equivalent tool available for seeing inside the human body, without actually cutting it open.

Diagnosing orthopedic conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system was revolutionized by medical imaging. Orthopaedic surgeons may be incredibly skilled and experienced with diagnosing conditions based on the symptoms of the patient and external appearance or other cues, however, imaging allows your doctor to see inside your skin, viewing details on the extent and position of an injury or condition. There was a time when exploratory surgery was a routine part of diagnosing certain conditions, and this is thankfully no longer necessary in almost all cases due to diagnostic imaging.

There are several common types of imaging that your doctor may recommend, depending on the location and nature of your complaint:

·         Digital X-rays – often the first and only tool needed, useful in diagnosing fractures and dislocations

·         Computerized Tomography (CT scans) – a series of X-rays that gives a more detailed picture

·         Ultrasound – provides real-time accurate images without radiation          

·         Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – especially helpful for diagnosing torn ligaments

In addition to providing invaluable visual information that helps determine a diagnosis, imaging will show when an injury or condition has healed. It will also indicate whether a treatment has been effective in promoting healing, or if some adjustment in medication or other treatment needs to be made. Not only can diagnostic imaging help orthopedic surgeons give an accurate diagnosis, it can also be utilized to see the progress a patient is having during and after treatment.

Thanks to the use of proper imaging, surgical procedures needed to correct a condition are less invasive or may be avoided all together. Tucson Orthopaedic Institute offers onsite medical imaging using the most advanced technology available. Our patients save valuable time and get diagnosed quickly and accurately, so that treatment can begin without delay. Call one of our conveniently located facilities today for an appointment in the Tucson, Arizona area.

Find the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute location nearest to you, or request an appointment online right now.


Digital X-rays vs. Traditional X-rays
Digital X-rays vs. Traditional X-rays

Something so simple as switching to digital format from traditional film can actually have a positive impact on patient care and satisfaction. Digital X-rays have improved the speed, accuracy, and safety of diagnostic imaging in orthopedics. Getting an accurate diagnosis more quickly means that you can begin treatment sooner, and avoid pain and complications that may come from delaying treatment.

 

X-rays rely on radiation to create images of internal structures in the body, most notably bones. The density of bone material relative the surrounding soft tissues are what makes it visible through an X-ray. This enables your doctor to determine whether your bone is broken, or fractured. With digital X-rays, there are several advantages to the newer technology.

 

Safe. Abundant radiation exposure can cause cancer. Fortunately, digital X-rays produce much less radiation than traditional X-rays. Your doctor will order diagnostic imaging such as X-rays if the benefit (pictures of the inside of your body) outweighs any negative health risk. If you are injured, your doctor needs to see inside your body to determine which treatment will best help your body heal.

 

Accurate. Digital X-rays provide clearer images with higher resolution than traditional X-rays. The images can be enlarged or otherwise manipulated to see the area of interest. Traditional X-rays were sometimes not clear enough and the patient would need to have another set taken.

 

Fast. With no need for development onto film, digital x-rays are available right away and can be sent to the doctor making a diagnosis quickly and electronically. Digital x-rays can also be provided to you or another physician who needs your health history quickly and easily. Traditional x-rays had to be copied onto film.

 

Green. Digital X-rays eliminate the need for a dark room to develop films. Equipment is generally smaller and takes up less space. The chemicals used to develop traditional X-rays were bad for the environment. Digital X-ray imaging does not require any chemicals, and has the added benefit of being able to easily be shared electronically.

 

Tucson Orthopaedic Institute offers onsite medical imaging for the diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions, including digital X-rays. We save patients valuable time by providing advanced diagnostics right in our facilities. For an appointment in the Tucson, Arizona area, contact one of our conveniently located offices today. Call our East Tucson office at (520) 784-6200, Northwest Tucson office at (520) 382-8200, or Oro Valley office at (520) 544-9700. To schedule an appointment, you can call or use our secure online appointment request form.

 


The Role of Physical Therapy in Spinal Cord Injuries
The Role of Physical Therapy in Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury can be as devastating as it sounds – it often means a permanent change in your body’s sensation and capabilities. The extent and duration of the injury is often impossible to determine, but physical therapy and exercise have been shown to have a universally positive effect.

 

The spinal cord conducts nerve impulses from the extremities to your core and everything in between, back and forth from the brain. Along with the brain, te spinal cord is the most integral part of the central nervous system. Among other sensory information, the primary motor cortex in the brain sends signals through the spinal cord that tell the body how and when to move. This is voluntary movement, not movement involved in life sustaining activities like breathing and blood circulation. When the spinal cord is damaged by an accident, communication with the nerves from the point of the injury downwards is disrupted. The signals that indicate sensation cannot reach the brain, and the brain cannot reach the muscles through the nervous system to cause movement.

 

Physical and occupational therapy begin almost immediately following a spinal cord injury. If there is any paralysis, whether temporary or permanent, the patient needs to strengthen muscles and learn alternate means of completing daily tasks. If the patient needs the assistance of a walker or wheelchair, physical therapy and exercise increase the ability to move independently.

 

Some benefits of physical therapy on spinal cord injury rehabilitation include:

·       Minimizing muscle atrophy

·       Improving breathing and circulation

·       Increasing mobility

·       Reducing feelings of depression and anxiety

·       Empowering patients to make a positive impact on their health

 

At Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, certified physical therapists work directly with physicians to develop a custom treatment plan that changes with any alteration in health or situation during the recovery period. Techniques that may be included in a treatment plan are manual therapy, aquatic therapy, electrophysiological agents, and more. Contact one of our convenient Tucson physical therapy centers today for a consultation, or request an appointment online.

 


Physical Therapy and Lymphedema Care: After a Mastectomy
Physical Therapy and Lymphedema Care: After a Mastectomy

At the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, we understand the need to heal after a major surgery. Our dedicated physical therapists have the compassion, training, and skills to help you move past pain while increasing function and range of motion. Physical therapy is a part of healing, but it is especially important to women who are undergoing physical therapy and lymphedema

(swelling) care after a mastectomy. Lymphedema (swelling of the arm) is a common side effect after a mastectomy.

 

Why is Lymphedema and How Does Physical Therapy Help?

 

Lymph glands, which normally transports lymph, a vital fluid containing white blood cells and other infection fighting components, are often taken out during a mastectomy in order to remove cancerous tissues. This can cause a condition known as secondary lymphedema, in which excess fluid collects beneath the skin. Without the ability to drain, excess fluid can build up (edema), causing swelling of the affected area.

 

The excessive collection of fluid can prevent proper blood flow and oxygenation and make a person susceptible to certain kinds of infection in the swollen areas. Following a mastectomy, physical therapy can help to drain the tissues because exercise and movement, along with compression and targeted massage, aids in the removal of excess fluid, toxins, and waste. Lymphedema can range from mild to severe, depending on the number of lymph nodes that have been removed or damaged. Symptoms of lymphedema can include:

 

·      Tightness, heaviness or feelings of fullness in the affected chest, armpit, arm area

·      Aching or pain in the affected limb

·      Swelling of the hand(s)

·      Difficulty bending the affected limb due to swelling

·      Arm weakness

·      Inability to fit into clothing such as bras, blouses and jewelry that were previously wearable

 

The treatment for lymphedema often includes physical therapy, exercise, and massage therapy. It may also require compression bandages to prevent fluid buildup, diet and weight management, and elevation of the affected arm. It is also very important that you keep the skin healthy by preventing it from drying out or cracking. This can lead to serious infections because the bacteria can often thrive in the areas where lymph glands have been removed.

 

Your doctor and physical therapist can advise you further as to which diet, exercise, medications and therapies are right for you. If you, or someone you love needs exceptional after care following a mastectomy, or any form of orthopedic care, or to learn more about our Ortho Fast Track program, please call us in East Tucson at (520) 784-6200Northwest Tucson at (520) 382-8200, or Oro Valley at (520) 544-9700, or request an appointment online.


Can Physical Therapy Help Avoid Surgeries
Can Physical Therapy Help Avoid Surgeries

Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, and this natural healing process works best when paired with proper nutrition, healthy exercise, and the right forms of rehabilitation and treatment. When people are suffering with pain from recent injury or a chronic condition, the first thought that comes to mind is often relying on surgery or medication for treatment. The truth is, physical therapy is equally, if not more, effective; and may even prevent the need for surgery in the first place.

Physical therapy helps restore function, improve range of motion, and alleviate pain. Many patients with problems including back pain, neck pain, and painful conditions such as arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, sprains and strains, and other injuries, can benefit from rehabilitation via physical therapy.

Going through physical therapy first to try to prevent surgery is usually recommended by doctors, including orthopedic surgeons and pain specialists. Even if you already had surgery, it’s important to implement a physical therapy treatment plan to increase your success of regaining optimal strength, mobility and balance, after recovery.

The job of a physical therapist is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together after injury or disease, without surgery. There is a specific science and pattern that the muscles of the body move to, and a licensed physical therapist has trained to have a keen understanding of body mechanics.

Physical therapists develop treatment plans designed and tailored specifically for the patient, based on their diagnosis, goals, needs, and challenges. PT can help you rehabilitate from an injury, or alleviate the symptoms and pain caused by a condition, and most importantly help to avoid surgery. Studies have shown that surgery has been known to possibly cause more pain, especially in some cases where PT was not followed through afterward.

Physical therapy is a direct form of treatment, and can help target and treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it's arthritis or another condition, and will help chronic pain improve over time. Your therapist will also provide individualized exercise routines, for both in office and at home. Doing physical therapy sessions allows you to become stronger every day, and teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate pain, not increase it. It is important to note, that the main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle.

Remember, that physical therapists are experts in improving and strengthening your mobility and motion to improve your quality of life. Your recovery will all depend how motivated and determined you are to power through your injury, and do your PT sessions. It is not going to be comfortable, but the more you do it, the more successful your outcome will be.

Talk to one of our experienced doctors at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, about working together to develop an individualized treatment plan to help you to either avoid surgery, or achieve an optimal post-operative recovery if surgery is necessary. To learn more about physical therapy and how it can help you avoid surgery, call Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at (520) 784-6200, to request an appointment, or use our secure online appointment request form.


What to Expect in Your First Physical Therapy Visit
What to Expect in Your First Physical Therapy Visit

The common use of certain physical therapy techniques goes back to the twentieth century, during World War I. Back then, physical therapists were trained to work with soldiers who were returning from war. In present day, physical therapists often help people who suffer from musculoskeletal problems, looking to reduce pain and regain function. Physical therapists also provide assistance for patients who may be recovering from a stroke, and need to learn how to use their limbs and walk again. Physical therapy is also commonly utilized as part of the recovery process after many types of surgery, helping strengthen the body and reduce the buildup of scar tissue.

As experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists are healthcare professionals who offer effective treatment to improve or restore mobility and relieve chronic pain, reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, allowing patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.  A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being.

During your first physical therapy appointment, your therapist will evaluate you and then provide you the necessary treatment. Your PT will advise you on how to perform exercises both in office or at home, and how to best manage your symptoms that you experience. Patients are typically involved in an active exercise program at home and are educated in ways to speed recovery and prevent recurrence of the problem.

Depending on your injuries and the evaluation, treatment may consist of a variety of exercise techniques and pain reducing modalities, such as ice, heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, such as a TENS unit. Treatments in physical therapy, are designed to increase motion and strength, reduce pain, and most importantly, restore function.

Your physical therapist during your first visit will ask a lot of questions about your health, and can give you a detailed outline of your condition and what would best suit you for treatment. Most importantly, before your visit, jot down questions to ask your therapist, and remember that they are there to guide you along the way to achieve your goals.

To learn more about physical therapy and how to prepare for your first visit, call Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at (520) 784-6200, to request an appointment, or you can call or use our secure online appointment request form.


On-Site Diagnostic Imaging
On-Site Diagnostic Imaging

It is not an overstatement to say that diagnostic imaging scans have revolutionized medicine in recent decades, allowing doctors to peer into the human body to the hidden, underlying structures without needing a scalpel. At the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, we understand the value of advanced on-site diagnostic imaging. That’s why we offer convenient digital X-rays, computed tomography (CT), a sophisticated bone density scan, and a magnetic resonance machine (MRI), all on-site. No more running around town, because we are a one-stop, full service orthopaedic practice.  

 

Diagnostic Imaging Scan Capabilities

 

·      Computed Tomography (CT) scan: uses a sophisticated form of X-rays to create detailed 3D images that help detect injures such as torn tendons and ligaments.

·      Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): harnesses a powerful magnetic field combined with radio waves to build digital images of organs and soft tissues of the body

·      Bone density Scan: helps to diagnose bone issues such as osteoporosis. A bone density scan can estimate the mass and density of your bones

·      Digital X-rays: superior to film X-rays in quality, storage, and they require 90% less radiation exposure for the patient. They also provide a much quicker image than previous X-rays.

 

We believe in patient centric care, built around your specific needs and lifestyle. That’s also why we offer exceptional specialty care such as: pediatric orthopedics, specialized elbow, shoulder, hand, and foot care, in addition to superior non-surgical, rehabilitative, joint replacement, and spinal care, alongside our onsite diagnostic imaging.

 

We proudly serve our valued patients with extended hours, multiple convenient locations, online bill pay, durable medical equipment (such as walkers, braces, crutches and more), extended hours, and a leading clinical research center, putting our practice at the forward edge of orthopedic medicine.

 

Whether you need bracing, a dedicated hand or foot specialist, a complete joint replacement, on site diagnostic imaging, or you choose us for our sophisticated interlocking treatment approach to care, we have the exceptional care you need, that fits into your busy life, because at Tucson Orthopedic Institute, we are proudly different by design.

 

If you, or a loved one, would like to know more about our on-site diagnostic imaging tools, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at any of our offices, please call us in East Tucson at (520) 784-6200Northwest Tucson at (520) 382-8200, or Oro Valley at (520) 544-9700, or request an appointment online.


Physical Therapy Before and After Surgery
Physical Therapy Before and After Surgery

No athlete wants to think about what it’s like having a serious injury, let alone the potential surgery and recovery period that follows. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents and injuries are out of our control, and depending on the circumstances, they may require surgical intervention. You will most likely have many questions regarding how your injury should be treated before and after surgery. Depending on what surgery is going to be performed, physical therapy is suggested, and is actually beneficial both pre-operatively and post-operatively.

As experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life. The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. Physical therapy is actually a required part of the recovery process for many orthopedic injuries and surgical procedures.

A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being. Primary care doctors often refer patients for physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a traditional approach to managing problems. For example, the first treatment for low back pain is often physical therapy, because the body has gotten out of shape and structure.

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who offer cost-effective treatment to improve mobility and relieve pain, reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, allowing patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs. If you’re already an athlete or physically active, then you will probably be more familiar with some of the treatment plan. If you’re not regularly active, physical therapy can open the door for a more active and energetic lifestyle.

Rehabilitation prior to your surgery is important for many reasons. Physical therapy will help minimize pain, reduce swelling, and especially help with range of motion. Physical therapy after surgery will help educate the patient on how to return to the activities they once did before, but hopefully even stronger. Not doing physical therapy after surgery can cause lack of mobility, increase the buildup of scar tissue, and even have psychological effects. Having done physical therapy beforehand and after will help you immensely after surgery, and help speed up your recovery process.

To learn more about physical therapy and its importance both before and after surgery, call Tucson Orthopaedic Institute at (520) 784-6200 to request an appointment, or you can use our secure online appointment request form.


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Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - East Office
5301 E. Grant Road
Tucson, Arizona 85712
Phone: (520) 784-6200
Fax: (520) 784-6187
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm
Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - Northwest Office
6320 N. La Cholla Blvd., Suite 200
Tucson, Arizona 85741
Phone: (520) 382-8200
Fax: (520) 297-3505
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm
Tucson Orthopaedic Institute - Oro Valley Office
1521 E. Tangerine Road, Suite 101
Oro Valley, Arizona 85755
Phone: (520) 544-9700
Fax: (520) 618-6060
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm