At Penn Medicine, our team of dedicated, subspecialty trained radiologists utilize state-of-the-art technology in order to diagnose and treat various conditions and diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system.
Computed Tomography (CT)
CT or computed tomography, takes multiple images in visual cross-sections inside the body, using x-rays. CT scan or CAT scan equipment is used to capture the images and a computer assembles those images into a multidimensional view. Penn Medicine incorporates sophisticated techniques to increase diagnostic accuracy, and advanced technology improves visualization of orthopaedic hardware.
CT imaging is the most common imaging service and is widely used for standard diagnostic evaluations, but specialty services include:
- Weight-bearing CT
Dual energy acquisition (helpful for diagnosing gout)
- CT arthrography (contrast scans)
- CT-guided biopsies (for bone imaging)
Biplanar Full-Body Imaging (EOS)
EOS is a standing x-ray that creates a biplanar image with a low-dose of radiation(up to seven times less than standard x-ray). The scan provides physicians with one scan of the body and can improve accuracy for diagnoses.
This newer technology is available for adults at Penn Medicine and is being used effectively as part of the Penn Adult Spine Deformity Program to help customize treatment programs for patients.
EOS allows physicians to see the body’s natural, weight-bearing posture and the interaction between the bones and joints, especially the spine. While the service is not recommended for routine imaging, like fractures and breaks, it can be the best choice for patients who require repeat imaging services or who are of child-bearing age.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) takes cross-sectional images of almost any part of the body using magnetic fields instead of x-rays. MRI images are digital maps instead of photographic images.
A wide variety of scanning equipment allows for imaging to be rendered for almost every type of bone, muscle and joint condition. Specialty services include MR arthrography for contrast-based joint imaging, and the dedicated extremity MR system at Pennsylvania Hospital.
The dedicated extremity MR system is a Penn Medicine imaging service unique in the Philadelphia region. It allows patients who are claustrophobic to receive imaging services without the confining feeling of a full body scan.
Ultrasound (US) uses high-frequency sound waves to create cross-sectional images of soft tissues through visualization musculoskeletal structures. Ultrasound enables a more accurate diagnosis through moving the device around the affected area instead of requiring a fixed scan.
Among the advanced services Penn Radiology offers, ultrasound-guided biopsies are valuable for evaluation of soft tissue masses, helping physicians better diagnose abnormalities.
Ultrasound imaging is effective and preferred for soft tissue and abdominal/pelvic conditions. Penn Radiology’s highly experienced abdominal imaging team manages multiple modalities.