History of Excellence

Radiography, known to most people as x-ray, is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. For well over a century, diagnostic images have been created by passing small, highly controlled amounts of radiation through the human body, capturing the resulting shadows on a detector.


In addition to x-ray, imaging modalities used for imaging of the musculoskeletal system include:

  • Computer tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound (US)

All modalities have important roles to play in the assessment of disease of the spine and musculoskeletal system. Imaging is not only useful for diagnosis, but can be used to guide biopsies and treatment in many cases of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. An exciting development has been the use of US guidance for the direct injection into tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues.

Specialized Experts Providing Exceptional Care

The Musculoskeletal Division at Penn Medicine is staffed by musculoskeletal disease specialists who are experts in imaging of the bones, joints, spine and soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system (ligaments, tendons, muscles). The Department also performs imaging for the assessment of metabolic bone disease, including osteoporosis. All of the radiologists in the Division are subspecialty trained in musculoskeletal imaging, and perform more than 400 radiographs, 75 MR studies, 15 CT studies, and 15 ultrasound studies each day. Their work includes all imaging studies of the musculoskeletal system related to trauma and other emergency department visits.

One of the unique capabilities of the Penn system is an extremity MR system at Pennsylvania Hospital that allows patients who are claustrophobic to receive imaging of an extremity without the confining feeling of a full body scan.

In This Section

Musculoskeletal Imaging Team

Meet the team of experts who specialize in musculoskeletal imaging. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our frequently asked questions about musculoskeletal imaging.

Forms, Instructions and Guides

Download and complete forms in advance of your musculoskeletal imaging appointment with Penn Radiology.

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