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Why Do I Need Imaging Studies?

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Why Do I Need Imaging Studies?

Imaging studies detect what the naked eye cannot see. Say you’ve just sustained a fracture – you likely know you’ve broken it because of the pain, swelling, and maybe you even heard a popping sound when it broke. You likely already know that once you make it to the doctor that they’ll X-ray the area to check it out, but there are many other types of imaging services to get an internal view of your musculoskeletal system (namely, the bones, joints, and surrounding tissues). The reason? These tests lead to a faster diagnosis so you can begin the correct course of treatment. What’s more, these tests are noninvasive, quick, and simple.

What Are Imaging Studies?

Also called diagnostic imaging services, imaging studies are useful for many reasons. The term describes various noninvasive ways a doctor can see inside your body to determine the cause of an injury, to confirm a diagnosis, and to check the progress of healing or how your body responds to treatment. Doctors who interpret imaging studies are called radiologists

The most common diagnostic imaging services include:

  • X-rays: As the most well known and oldest diagnostic imaging service, X-rays are highly valuable even today for their ability to allow the doctor to see hard structures inside the bone (mainly your bones, but also any foreign objects). It works by produces a high-energy beam that dense, hard structures like the bones are unable to absorb that passes through the rest of the body.
  • MRI scans: Short for “magnetic resonance imaging,” these scans are necessary to observe the soft tissues inside the body. It works by using a high-powered magnetic field with low-frequency radio waves to create images. A radiologist interprets the images and then sends a report to your doctor to create a treatment plan for your injury or condition. There are many styles of MRI: open, closed, 3T, and wide-bore. MRIs can detect spinal cord and brain conditions, tumors and cysts, and a lot more.
  • DEXA scan: These bone density tests measure bone strength through “DEXA” – dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Typically, these tests are ordered for patients at high risk for osteoporosis.
  • Other types of imaging studies: There are other types of imaging studies that are not used as commonly in orthopedics. These include ultrasound, CT scans, PET scans, and more. Other imaging studies not used in orthopedics include mammography, MRA scans, and nuclear medicine.

Contact Fox Valley Orthopedics to Schedule Your Diagnostic Imaging Appointment

Our orthopedic surgeons rely on diagnostic imaging services to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and to customize your treatment plan. We have various convenient locations in Geneva (North and South), Elgin-Royal, and Barrington. Services are available day or evening and by appointment only.

To reach our team at Fox Valley Orthopedics, please call (630) 584-1400.