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Bone Scan
Bone Scan What is a bone scan? A bone scan is a radiology procedure used to look at the skeleton. It is done to find areas of physical and chemical changes in bone. A bone scan may also be used to see if treatment of certain conditions is working. A bone scan is a type of nuclear radiology procedure. This means that a tiny amount of a radioactive substance is used during the scan to assist in the exam of the bones. The radioactive substance, called a radionuclide, or radioactive tracer, collects in abno...
Fluoroscopy Procedure
Fluoroscopy Procedure What is fluoroscopy? Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures. It’s much like an X-ray "movie" and is often done while a contrast dye moves through the part of the body being examined. A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part and sent to a video monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, allows healthcare providers to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, cardiovascular...
Arthrography
Arthrography What is arthrography? Arthrography is a type of imaging test used to look at a joint, such as the shoulder, knee, or hip. It may be done if standard X-rays do not show the needed details of the joint structure and function. In arthrography, a long, thin needle is used to put contrast dye right into the joint and a series of X-rays is taken with the joint in various positions. X-rays use small amounts of radiation to get pictures of the inside of the body. Sometimes air is used as the contra...
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Bones, Joints, and Soft Tissues
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Bones, Joints, and Soft Tissues What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs and structures within the body. It is used to diagnose medical problems. The MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the person being examined. Some look like narrow tunnels, while others are more open. This magnetic fie...
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body, in this case, the brain and spine. MRI is used to help diagnose a health problem. The MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. Some look like narrow tunnels. Others are more open. This magnetic ...
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Bones
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Bones What is a CT scan of the bones? Computed tomography is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays. In standard X-rays, a beam of energy is aimed at the body part being studied. A plate behind the body part captures the variations of the energy beam after it passes through skin, bone, muscle, and other t...
Vertebroplasty
Vertebroplasty What is vertebroplasty? Vertebroplasty is a procedure used to treat fractures or breaks in the vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bones in your back that are stacked on top of each other to make your spine. Your spine supports your weight, allows you to move, and protects your spinal cord and nerves. AMuscsk_20140310_v0_005 In vertebroplasty, your doctor injects a special thick cement mixture into a fractured vertebra. When vertebroplasty is successful, the cement mixture stabilizes the ver...
Kyphoplasty
Kyphoplasty What is kyphoplasty? Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to treat fractures or breaks in the vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bones in your back that are stacked on top of each other to make your spine. Your spine supports your weight, allows you to move, and protects your spinal cord and the nerves. AMuscsk_20140310_v0_005 Kyphoplasty is often discussed along with another procedure called vertebroplasty. First the doctor inflates small balloon-like devices into the broken bone to make space. Th...
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee Replacement Surgery What is knee replacement surgery? When your knee is badly damaged by disease or injury, an artificial knee replacement may be considered. During knee replacement surgery, your joint surfaces are replaced by prostheses. These are plastic and metal parts that are used to replace your joint surfaces. Why might I need knee replacement surgery? Osteoarthritis is the most common problem that leads to knee replacement surgery. This is a “wear and tear” joint disease that affects mostly...
X-rays of the Extremities
X-rays of the Extremities What are X-rays of the extremities? X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of the bones, and surrounding soft tissues. Standard X-rays are done for many reasons, including diagnosing tumors, infections, foreign bodies, or bone injuries. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the extremity for diagnostic purposes. X-rays pass through body structures onto specially treated plates (similar to camera film). It makes a "negative" t...
Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator Cuff Repair What is a rotator cuff repair? The rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. It’s one of the most important parts of the shoulder. It allows you to lift your arm and reach up. An injury to the rotator cuff, such as a tear, may happen suddenly when falling on an outstretched hand or develop over time due to repetitive activities. Rotator cuff degeneration and tears may also be caused by aging. AMuscsk_20140310_v0_009 If your rotator cuff is injured,...
Myelogram
Myelogram What is a myelogram? A myelogram is a diagnostic imaging test generally done by a radiologist. It uses a contrast dye and X-rays or computed tomography (CT) to look for problems in the spinal canal. Problems can develop in the spinal cord, nerve roots, and other tissues. This test is also called myelography. The contrast dye is injected into the spinal column before the procedure. The contrast dye appears on an X-ray screen allowing the radiologist to see the spinal cord, subarachnoid space, a...
Muscle Biopsy
Muscle Biopsy What is a muscle biopsy? A muscle biopsy is a procedure used to diagnose diseases involving muscle tissue. Tissue and cells from a specific muscle are removed and viewed microscopically. The procedure requires only a small piece of tissue to be removed from your designated muscle. The tissue sample is obtained by inserting a biopsy needle into your muscle. If a larger sample is required, your healthcare provider may make an incision in your skin (open biopsy) and remove a larger section of...
Laminectomy
Laminectomy What is a laminectomy? Back pain that interferes with normal daily activities may require surgery for treatment. Laminectomy is a type of surgery in which a surgeon removes part or all of the vertebral bone (lamina). This helps relieve compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots that may be caused by injury, herniated disk, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the canal), or tumors. A laminectomy is considered only after medical treatments have proven to be ineffective. PNerv_20140312_v0_002 ...
Knee Ligament Repair
Knee Ligament Repair What is knee ligament repair? Ligaments are bands of tough, elastic connective tissue that surround a joint to give support and limit the joint's movement. AMuscsk_20140311_v1_001 When ligaments are damaged, the knee joint may become unstable. Ligament damage often occurs from a sports injury. A torn ligament severely limits knee movement, resulting in the inability to pivot, turn, or twist the leg. Surgery is an option to repair a torn ligament if other medical treatment is not eff...
Joint Aspiration
Joint Aspiration What is joint aspiration? Joint aspiration is a procedure to remove fluid from the space around a joint using a needle and syringe. This is usually done under a local anesthetic either to relieve swelling or to obtain fluid for analysis to diagnose a joint disorder and/or problem. Joint aspiration is most often done on the knee. However, fluid can also be removed from other joints, such as the hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist. AMuscsk_20140325_v0_001 Other related procedures that m...
Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip Replacement Surgery What is hip replacement surgery? Hip replacement, also called total hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace a worn out or damaged hip joint with a prosthesis (an artificial joint). This surgery may be an option after a hip fracture or for severe pain due to arthritis. Various types of arthritis may affect the hip joint: Osteoarthritis . This is a degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults. It may cause the breakdown of joint cartilage...
Epidural Corticosteroid Injections
Epidural Corticosteroid Injections What is an epidural corticosteroid injection? In the simplest of terms, an epidural corticosteroid (steroid) injection is a way to deliver pain medicine quickly into the body with a syringe. The medicine is injected into the epidural area. This is a fat-filled area that covers the spinal cord to protect it and the surrounding nerves from damage. Sometimes pain relief is short term. Other times the benefits continue for some time. Why might I need an epidural steroid in...
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Spine
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan of the Spine What is a CT scan of the spine? Computed tomography is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays. In standard X-rays, a beam of energy is aimed at the body part being studied. A plate behind the body part captures the variations of the energy beam after it passes through skin, bone, muscle, and other t...
Carpal Tunnel Release
Carpal Tunnel Release What is carpal tunnel release surgery? Carpal tunnel release is a surgery that’s used to treat and potentially heal the painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Doctors used to think that carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by an overuse injury or a repetitive motion performed by the wrist or hand, often at work. They now know that it’s most likely a congenital predisposition (something that runs in families) – some people simply have smaller carpal tunnels than others. Car...
Bunion Surgery
Bunion Surgery What is bunion surgery? Bunion surgery is done to reduce the pain and correct the deformity caused by a bunion. A bunion (hallux valgus) is an enlargement of the bone or tissue around a joint at the base of the big toe or at the base of the little toe (in which case it is called a "bunionette" or "tailor's bunion"). Bunions often occur when the joint is stressed over a prolonged period. Most bunions occur in women, primarily because women may be more likely to wear tight, pointed, and con...
Bone Marrow Biopsy
Bone Marrow Biopsy What is a bone marrow biopsy? In the center of most large bones there is a soft tissue called bone marrow. Bone marrow makes most of the body's blood cells. You have both red and yellow bone marrow. Red bone marrow is the active part that makes red blood cells. Yellow bone marrow contains fat cells. In adults, red bone marrow is found in the flat bones, such as the upper hipbones, and the breastbone. In children, the red bone marrow is in the long bones, such as the femur. A bone marr...
Bone Density Test
Bone Density Test What is a bone density test? A bone density test is used to measure bone mineral content and density. It may be done using X-rays, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA), or a special CT scan that uses computer software to determine bone density of the hip or spine. For various reasons, the DEXA scan is considered the "gold standard" or most accurate test. This measurement tells the healthcare provider whether there is decreased bone mass. This is a condition in which bones are...
Bone Biopsy
Bone Biopsy What is a bone biopsy? A biopsy is a procedure done to remove tissue or cells from the body to be looked at under a microscope. A bone biopsy is a procedure in which bone samples are removed (with a special biopsy needle or during surgery) to find out if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. A bone biopsy involves the outer layers of bone, unlike a bone marrow biopsy, which involves the innermost part of the bone. AMuscsk_20140307_v0_003 There are two types of biopsy: Needle biopsy. Af...
Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy What is arthroscopy? Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat of conditions affecting joints. The doctor can directly view the internal structures of a joint using an instrument called an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a small, tube shaped instrument that is used to look inside a joint. Orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat joint problems. It consists of a system of lenses, a small video camera, and a light for viewing. The camera is connec...
Arthroplasty
Arthroplasty What is arthroplasty? Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to restore the function of a joint. A joint can be restored by resurfacing the bones. An artificial joint (called a prosthesis) may also be used. Various types of arthritis may affect the joints. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a loss of the cartilage or cushion in a joint, and is the most common reason for arthroplasty. AMuscsk_20140311_v0_001 Why might I need arthroplasty? Arthroplasty may be used when medical tr...
Amputation
Amputation What is amputation? Amputation is surgery to remove all or part of an arm or leg. It may be done to treat injury, disease, or infection. It may also be done to remove tumors from bones and muscles. Why might I need an amputation? The most common reason for amputation is poor blood flow. This happens when arteries become narrowed or damaged. When this occurs in the arms or legs, it’s called peripheral arterial disease or PAD. PAD most often occurs between the ages of 50 to 75. It usually resul...
Sympathetic Nerve Blocks for Pain
Sympathetic Nerve Blocks for Pain A sympathetic nerve block is believed by many pain health care providers to be an effective method for controlling chronic pain. However, there is not a great deal of medical evidence to show whether these blocks are actually helpful. This therapy targets the sympathetic nervous system, a series of nerves that spread out from your spine to your body to help control several involuntary body functions, or body functions that you have no control over. These include blood f...
X-rays of the Spine, Neck, or Back
X-rays of the Spine, Neck, or Back (Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral, or Coccygeal X-ray Studies) Procedure overview What are X-rays of the spine, neck, or back? X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. Standard X-rays are performed for many reasons. These include diagnosing tumors or bone injuries. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic p...