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.

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