Radiology and Pathology Services
Our Physicians use a variety of diagnostic tests to help identify the specific nature of your injury or condition. Interventionalists also use these test results to plan an appropriate course of treatment.
As part of your examination, your physician may order a variety of blood tests. Some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may be identified by the presence of a specific substance in your blood.
Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
A CT scan (computed tomography) combines X-rays with computer technology to produce a more detailed, cross-sectional image of your body. The CT scan may be ordered if your doctor suspects a tumor or a fracture that doesn’t appear on X-rays (such as in your collarbone or pelvis) or if you’ve had severe trauma to the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis or spinal cord. During the scan, you lie motionless on a table as it slides into the center of the cylinder-like CT scanner. An X-ray tube slowly rotates around you, taking numerous pictures from all directions. A computer combines the images to produce a clear, two-dimensional view on a television screen.
*Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before undergoing a CT scan.
An Ultrasound (or Sonography), is a radiology procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves that echo off the body to create a picture. A hand-held transducer is placed against the skin sending out high frequency sound waves that reflect off of body structures. The returning sound waves, or echoes, are displayed as an image on a monitor. The image is based on the frequency and strength (amplitude) of the sound signal and the time it takes to return from the patient to the transducer. An ultrasound can be used to examine various organs in the body, including the abdomen, pelvis, and thyroid areas. An ultrasound is also used for viewing blood flow through the body’s vessels. It is non-invasive and involves no radiation.
Intrathecal Contrast Enhanced CT Scan
This test uses contrast dye to better visualize the spinal canal and nerve roots in the spine. It may be used to help diagnose back problems such as spinal stenosis, particularly in patients with pacemakers or others who cannot have an MRI. The physician applies a numbing medication to the skin, uses X-ray guidance to inject a very low dose of contrast fluid (dye) into the spinal fluid, and the CT scan is then administered. (See Computed Tomography.)
Laboratory studies of blood, urine, or joint (synovial) fluids are used to identify the presence and amount of chemicals, proteins, and other substances. Your doctor may order various laboratory studies depending on what he or she finds during the initial examination. For example, laboratory studies can identify the amount of uric acid in the blood, which is an indicator of gout. A high white blood cell count in joint fluid may indicate severe inflammation or infection. Laboratory tests are usually required before surgeries to identify medical abnormalities.
You may be required to fast for a specific number of hours before donating samples for a laboratory test.