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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What imaging techniques may be used to diagnose arthritis and other rheumatic diseases?


Imaging techniques may give your physician a clearer picture of what is happening to your joint(s). Imaging techniques may include the following:
  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan).A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices), of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
  • Joint ultrasound. A diagnostic procedure used occasionally to find inflammation before X-rays show damage.
  • Bone densitometry (DEXA). An imaging study to measure bone density, used primarily to detect osteoporosis.

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