Musculoskeletal Imaging By X-Ray
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have been used successfully in musculoskeletal imaging for decades and are recognized as a valuable medical tool for a wide variety of examinations and procedures. X-rays are used as a noninvasive and painless method for helping diagnose, monitor, and treat many medical conditions.
Some conditions that may call for a musculoskeletal X-ray include the assessment of:
- Spinal Posture
- Joint alignment and positioning.
- Bone tumors
Risks Verses Benefits Of Musculoskeletal Imaging By X-Ray
There are some risks involved in getting an X-ray as X-rays use small amounts of radiation to create images of your body. But for most people, the potential benefits will outweigh the risks.
The level of radiation exposure is considered safe for most adults, but not for a developing baby. If you’re pregnant or believe you may be pregnant advise the referring practitioner before you have an X-ray. In this situation a different imaging method, such as an MRI may be more appropriate.
Getting Referred For An X -ray By Your Physiotherapist
A Sydney physio can refer you for X-rays however physiotherapists can only bulk bill X-rays for the neck (cervical spine), mid back (thoracic spine) low back or pelvis (lumbar spine and SIJ). Physiotherapists can not be bulk billed via Medicare for referral of X-rays for other areas of the body such as the ankle, shoulder or knee…
Musculoskeletal Imaging By Ultrasound
Ultrasound imaging (also know as sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves to view the body. And unlike X-rays, there is no ionizing radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging.
Ultrasound images are captured in real-time, meaning they can be carried out whist the area is being moved to show how movement or position is impacting the tissue in question. As well as showing movement of the body’s internal organs or blood flowing through the blood vessels.
In an musculoskeletal ultrasound examination, a thin layer of gel is applied to the skin prior to the ultrasound probe (transducer) being placed directly on the skin over the area to be assessed. The ultrasound waves are then transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body.
How Ultrasound Imaging Works
Ultrasound imaging uses the reflection of the waves off of the bodies structures. The strength of the sound signal and the time it takes for the sound wave to travel through the body provide the information necessary to produce an image. Different tissues offer different impedance to the sound waves and as a result a picture can be painted from this information.
Some common conditions that may call for the use of musculoskeletal imaging via ultrasound include:
- Muscle strain grading for severity of injury.
- Tendinopathy such as rotator cuff complaints, tennis elbow or Achilles tendon issues.
- Shoulder Bursitis
- ligament sprains
- Bone sonometry (to assess bone fragility).
- Doppler ultrasound (to visualize blood flow through a blood vessel such as with DVT detection).
- Ultrasound-guided injections such as administering cortisone injections.
Risks Verses Benefits Of Musculoskeletal Imaging By Ultrasound
Although ultrasound imaging is generally considered safe and is based on non-ionizing radiation unlike X rays and CT imaging. Ultrasound energy still has potential to produce biological effects on the body. Ultrasound waves can heat the tissues slightly and in some cases ultrasound imaging can also produce small pockets of gas in body fluids or tissues (referred to as cavitation). The long-term consequences of cavitation or heating are unknown.
Getting Referred For An Ultrasound By Your Physiotherapist
A Sydney physio can refer you for ultrasound imaging however physiotherapists can not be bulk billed through Medicare for ultrasound imaging to any part of the body.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Musculoskeletal Imaging And Physiotherapy should consult his or her general practitioner, physiotherapist, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.