Orthopedic specialists use a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose musculoskeletal conditions and injuries accurately. While you may not need every diagnostic exam, knowing how each one works is beneficial.
The following are the most common diagnostic tests you can expect from an orthopedic clinic:
When diagnosing spontaneous joint pain, arthrography is a commonly designated procedure. Your doctor will inject an iodine contrast solution into the target joint to make images appear better.
They will then capture images using equipment like an X-ray machine. You may need to move the joint in various positions during the arthrography to help the provider take distinct photos.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Another beneficial tool in most orthopedic clinics is the CT scan. This diagnostic procedure uses a combination of X-rays and computers to produce detailed images of the body.
An orthopedic clinic may conduct this test for patients with suspected joint damage, lesions, fractures, and unusual bone manifestations. Doctors also use it to get more detailed body images when radiography and other tests are less effective.
Ultrasound, or sonography, is a straightforward tool in diagnostic orthopedic clinics. It uses high-frequency sound waves to provide a real-time, dynamic assessment of internal structures, such as soft tissues and organs.
It involves using a wave-sending transducer on the skin’s surface. The computer connected to this device records and translates the echoing ultrasound waves into images.
Compared to standard tests like X-rays and MRI scans, ultrasound is safer, since it does not involve ionizing radiation. It is also compatible with those with metal implants.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI machines are sophisticated tube-shaped devices that use magnetic fields, radiofrequency, and computers to produce images of the body’s structures. Doctors recommend an MRI to examine tumors, inflammatory diseases, and congenital abnormalities of bones or soft tissues.
The machine forms a magnetic field around a patient. The nuclei of your body’s atoms align with the magnetic field when the scanner strikes radio waves. The device records the rate at which the soft tissues produce vibrations and translates them into a 2D image.
Nerve Conduction Study
A potential carpal tunnel syndrome or ulnar nerve impairment may require a nerve conduction study. In this study, your doctor stimulates your nerve with electrode patches to measure how fast impulses travel through it.
The procedure usually comes with electromyography. This related test measures the electrical activity in a specific muscle. Your orthopedic doctor may perform both tests to confirm whether you have a nerve or muscle problem.
Many are familiar with X-rays. A radiologist or technician will position your body on a specialized plate. You may need to stay still or hold your breath for a few seconds to maximize image clarity.
Doctors often use X-rays as a standard procedure in orthopedic clinics to diagnose infections, fractures, bone cancer, and breast tumors.
Range Of Motion Testing
Also known as flexibility testing, doctors use this method to measure your capacity to move or rotate joints to varying degrees. Providers usually classify them as active or passive depending on the procedure they are performing.
Trusted Orthopedic Clinic Near You In San Antonio, TX
While diagnostic tests are essential in making accurate assessments, overusing some tests may lead to potentially dangerous effects. Providers must determine which procedures are necessary or fit your current health status.
You don’t have to look far if you’re looking for a trusted orthopedic clinic near you in San Antonio, TX. The Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine has been helping patients achieve wellness and recovery since 1990. Our state-of-the-art facility and dedicated team can give you personalized care if you want diagnostic testing and treatment.
You may book an appointment with the best orthopedic doctors in San Antonio through our online appointment request form. You may also call our office at (210) 692-7400. We look forward to serving you!