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

  • Computer tomography (CT)
  • Full-body imaging (EOS)
  • 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.

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