What is Musculoskeletal Radiology

Musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology is a subspecialty of diagnostic radiology that interprets imaging and performs image-guided procedures of the bones, joints, spine and soft tissues for both adults and pediatrics. 

Did you know that the adult human body has 206 bones? This means there are a lot of things that would require musculoskeletal imaging or image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat pain. Our fellowship-trained MSK physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

MSK Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders are conditions that can affect your muscles, bones, and joints. Some conditions that might require MSK imaging and image-guided procedures include (but are not limited to):

  • Tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Sports injuries
  • Fractures

These things could be caused by lifting heavy weights, repetitive motions and even your age, occupation, or family history.

Exams and Procedures

At Delaney Radiology, we offer a wide range of imaging services and image-guided procedures. Our providers perform several types of minimally invasive, image-guided radiology procedures for specialized diagnostic or treatment purposes. The following exams and procedures are used to diagnose and/or treat musculoskeletal disorders and injuries:

  • Arthrogram – This starts with an x-ray guided injection of anesthetic and contrast agent into the joint of interest. After the injection, a CT or MRI is performed to better visualize the internal anatomy of the joint for more accurate diagnosis and surgical planning. Our providers perform arthrograms of multiple joints including the shoulder, hip, wrist, and knee.
  • Steroid Injections
    • Therapeutic Joint Injection – In a procedure that has both diagnostic and pain management purposes, a provider injects an anesthetic and steroid into the joint. The response to the injection determines whether the targeted joint is the cause of the pain, while also providing temporary pain relief that can last from hours to months.
    • Facet Injection – In this procedure a precise injection of anesthetic and steroid is administered into the small joints of the back for pain relief. Often, multiple injections are performed at different segments to identify which segments are generating pain. The procedure is very important for precise diagnosis and treatment of neck and low back pain.
    • Spinal Injection – Several procedures can be performed to diagnose and treat pain arising from the lower back, including epidural injections and selective nerve root blocks. In these procedures, imaging is used to guide a needle into the space around the nerves in order to inject an anesthetic and/or steroid to ease pain and reduce inflammation. Pain relief can last several months and be repeated multiple times per year as necessary.
  • Joint Aspiration – This is a special procedure used to remove fluid from a joint helping to diagnose the cause of the fluid and provide relief from pressure and pain.
  • MSK Ultrasonography (ultrasound) –  In this exam, diagnostic images of the soft tissues, through the use of high frequency sound waves, will be obtained. This ultrasound has a variety of uses including diagnosing tendon or ligament tears, inflammation, soft tissue masses or fluid within the joints. The exam is most commonly utilized on the shoulder, knee, Achilles tendon, and foot. You can always trust our expertise as these exams are performed solely by our MSK radiologists and sonographers, all of whom are proficient and expertly trained in MSK ultrasound.

For more information on our image-guided radiology procedures visit our special procedures page.

If you are suffering from joint pain, please talk to your doctor to determine if one of these procedures might be right for you. Always remember that you have a choice in your health care and can request to have your imaging and image-guided procedures performed at Delaney Radiology. Our staff of board-certified radiologists, physician assistants and trained technologists will ensure your imaging is high quality and cost effective every time. We want to help ease your pain and get you back to doing the things you love most.

To learn more about our Fellowship-Trained MSK Radiologists and Physician Assistants, visit our provider page.

Sources:
Healthline
Hopkins Medicine