If your doctor requests an advanced imaging scan to aid in making a diagnosis, two of the most common tests requested are the CT Scan and MRI. Let’s take a look at how each of these tests show cross-sectional pictures of the body using different techniques.
CT stands for computerized tomography. This scan uses multiple x-rays that are taken at different angles in order to produce a cross-sectional image.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. Here a combination of magnetic fields and radio frequencies are used, so the MRI scanner can generate a 3D image of the part of the body being examined.
Both of these techniques can be used to examine the same parts of the body, and the choice of which one should be used is based on the possible diagnosis. In general, CT scans are used for diagnosing serious injuries to the head, chest, spine, abdomen, and pelvis, and are helpful when trying to determine if fractures are involved. In contrast, the MRI does a better job of diagnosing issues in joints, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues. MRIs are often used to scan the brain, spine, neck, breast, abdomen, and muscles.
Differences between a CT Scan and MRI
- Radiation – CT scans use X-ray technology so minimal radiation exposure is present. CT scans are not usually used during pregnancy for this reason. MRI’s do not involve radiation.
- Cost – CT scans are usually less expensive than MRI tests.
- Time for Procedure – CT scans are done fairly quickly. Most CT scans take around 5 minutes to complete. MRI’s can range from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the part of the body that is being examined.
- Patient comfort – CT scans are done in an open machine so concerns about being in a small space are rarely an issue. MRI’s are traditionally done in a narrow tube, and can sometimes cause anxiety. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine has an open MRI machine to help with concerns about anxiety if MRI is the best choice for the diagnosis.
- Limitations – The table used in CT scans accommodate approximately 300 pounds, so if a larger table is required, a patient may need to go to a facility with appropriate equipment. MRI machines with the conventional tube design may also have limitations based on the size of the patient. Open MRI machines would be an alternative option. In addition, MRI machines utilize magnetic fields during the scan so patients with certain metal objects implanted in the body (e.g. pacemakers, rods, some prosthetic joints, and even certain tattoos) may prevent the use of MRI tests.
Your doctor will discuss the type of test that they are considering to make the diagnosis. If you have any questions or concerns please share that with your specialist. Schedule an appointment at one of our seven locations!
The musculoskeletal system is the network of muscles and bones within the body. Injuries, conditions like arthritis, and other growth and degeneration problems can cause pain and disorders that cannot always be identified with a physical exam. It is a musculoskeletal radiologist’s job to conduct medical imaging of the problem areas to figure out what is happening to your body.
Musculoskeletal problems can be the result of anything from work accidents and sports injuries to genetics and lifestyle choices, and many other circumstances. Some of these problems include osteoarthritis of the knee, osteoporosis of the bones, and other joint or muscle issues.
In order to accurately diagnose and treat Musculoskeletal Conditions, Peninsula Radiology offers a full spectrum of imaging services. Our radiologist utilize CT, MRI, musculoskeletal ultrasound, bone biopsies and bone mineral density studies to effectively look inside of a patient’s body. Since musculoskeletal disorders and injuries affect bones and muscles specifically, this is where these kinds of radiologists focus their attention. Thanks to these technologies and our expert staff, we are able to diagnose a wide range of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our Musculoskeletal Imaging Radiologists work closely with our other departments to ensure that every diagnosis is accurate and that treatment plans for musculoskeletal conditions are the most effective available.
Conditions that fall in the range of Musculoskeletal Imaging include patients with the following:
- Patients with disorders of the spine, upper & lower extremities
- Cancers of the soft tissues & bones
For more than 50 years, Peninsula Radiological Associates has provided quality medical imaging services. Our team of board certified and fellowship-trained radiologists have over 200 years of combined experience. As a team we deliver the most comprehensive range of medical diagnostic imaging and interventional radiological procedures available on the Virginia Peninsula.
At Peninsula Radiology, it is our goal to always utilize the least invasive technology for diagnosis. We only advance to more complex procedures when it is necessary. Call (757) 595-6363 or go online to schedule an appointment for imaging services.
Musculoskeletal imaging is a specialty used to look at disorders of the joints, bones and soft tissues associated with their connections. These images can be done on both adult and pediatric patients depending on individual health concerns.
This type of imaging is used in a variety of health explorations including:
- trauma situations
- sports medicine (e.g. forceful impacts or repeated strains)
- work related disorders caused by repeated motions and vibrations
- bone and soft tissue tumors
- joint disorders such as certain types of arthritis
- tears in tendons or ligaments (i.e. knee, shoulder and hip)
- congenital malformations of extremities in infants and children
- swelling or bleeding of tissues around joints
During your first appointment with your medical provider, you can expect a physical examination that will involve inspection, palpation and manipulation of the affected area. First they will look for redness, inflammation and other visible signs of an abnormal occurrence. Next they will touch the area and exert some pressure to see how the body responds to an external stimuli. Finally they will perform a range of motions to see how the area reacts to different types of movement. All of these together will help them to determine what kind of musculoskeletal condition they need to consider.
If your doctor determines that imaging would be necessary to see details of your condition, a number of different imaging options can be used:
- X-rays – this basic imaging is usually a start to get a first look at the bones, joints and soft tissue to form an initial assessment.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – using a large magnet an MRI can produce a detailed look at the structures of the musculoskeletal system giving anatomic detail and even can provide detailed information of bone marrow in cases of infection or tumor.
- CT (computed tomography) – these images allow for a production of a three-dimensional view, making them useful in the evaluation of bone architecture, fractures and orthopedic hardware.
- Fluoroscopy – is a type of X-ray that creates moving images of joints as they are functioning.
- Ultrasound – using sound waves, an ultrasound can produce images of muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments in a noninvasive manner.
Musculoskeletal imaging also assists with soft tissue biopsies when using CT guidance or ultrasonographic procedures.
All of these imaging options have strengths for different diagnosis results and your doctor will help to determine the best course of labs for your individual circumstances.
Peninsula Radiology Associates is a full service imaging provider serving the entire Peninsula. Our specialists are trained in the latest techniques so that you can have confidence you’re receiving an accurate imaging diagnosis. Contact us at (757) 989-8830 for an appointment. We are happy to serve your imaging needs!
The International Day of Radiology is building greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care, and better understanding of the vital role radiologists perform in healthcare delivery. November 8, 2017 marks the sixth annual International Day of Radiology (IDoR). This year’s theme is dedicated to emergency radiology, and the essential role that radiologists play in the emergency room.
The International Day of Radiology is celebrated on November 8, because it is the anniversary of the 1895 discovery of the X-ray by German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen.
Radiologists are not always the most visible members of the healthcare team, but, in many cases, they are the ones who provide the answers about a patients’ condition. Our radiologists use images produced with a variety of techniques and technologies, to pinpoint the exact nature and location of your fracture, whether your head has sustained any serious damage, and whether your stomach pains are due to a swollen appendix.
The International Day of Radiology serves an excellent opportunity to build greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care, and better understanding of the vital role radiologists perform in healthcare delivery.
Radiologists in the emergency room increase the quality of care and treatment of patients.
The team at Peninsula Radiology is pleased to announce the addition of our newest doctor. Please join us in welcoming Dr. William H. Marshall.
Dr. William H. Marshall, M.D. graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University. He obtained his medical degree from George Washing University Medical School. Dr. Marshall completed internship training at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. He continued his training with a residency in diagnostic radiology at the Water Reed Army Medical Center. In addition, he completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Marshall served in the United States Army from 1983 to 1994, which two of those years were spent as a Brigade Flight Surgeon at Fort Hood, Texas. He received numerous awards, including the Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal and a Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Marshall joined the team at Peninsula Radiology in 2015. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology and holds licenses in Virginia, Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin.
In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading, cooking as well as teaching.