X-rays, CT/CAT Scans and MRIs
Diagnostic imaging techniques help narrow the causes of an injury or illness and ensure that the diagnosis is accurate. X-rays are good for assessing an injury and providing a low-cost, first view of a fracture, bone degeneration, infection, or tumor. X-rays do not show the soft tissues and may not show as much detail as an image produced using newer, more powerful techniques.
Computerized tomography or CT/Cat scans create more detailed, cross-sectional images of the size, shape, and position of structures that are deep inside the body, including bone, soft tissue and blood vessels. A CT scan may be necessary to diagnose severe trauma to the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen, or pelvis, and to pinpoint the size and location of tumors.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another modern diagnostic imaging technique that produces cross-sectional images of the body. An MRI is a better tool to diagnose damage to soft tissues: joints, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, showing tissue difference between normal and abnormal. The DOC orthopedic surgeon orders MRIs to scan the brain, spine, neck, abdomen, and muscles.