Dr Balakumar will often order a combination of the above investigations to help confirm the diagnosis and plan treatment. Typically a patient with a hip problem would have plain X-Ray (standing) - AP (frontal view), Faux profile standing (side view of the socket) and oblique lateral (side view of the femur bone). This prompts the question about radiation and its harmfulness.
An X-ray or Roentogram is an imaging modality that uses a radiation beam to look at bones and soft tissues. A typical chest X-ray has the same background radiation as a plain trip to Sydney. In fact we are constantly exposed to background radiation from the ground, air and our surroundings. It is estimated that having up to 100 chest X-rays a year is safe. However your clinician will minimize the exposure to X-rays.
Why is radiation bad for you? Too much radiation or one of dose can cause damage to the cells in your body.
This is an imaging modality that uses computer assisted tomography to take multiple X-rays around the body part in question. CT scan can give excellent anatomical bony detail and is very useful in planning surgery as the 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional reconstructions are like exploring the bone from within.
However CT scans carry considerable more radiation than a conventional X-ray. It is hard to estimate the exact dose. Most clinicians practice the image gently philosophy and carefully weigh up the risks and benefits prior to ordering CT scans. It is estimated that CT scan of knee is equivalent to the background radiation dosing of a plane trip to New York return to Melbourne.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a imaging modality that uses a magnetic field to generate high resolution bony and soft tissue detail. It is one of the best imaging modalities available to look at soft tissue problems both anatomically and functionally.
It does not carry with it any radiation, however it has certain drawbacks including being life threatening in someone with a pacemaker, metal coils in the brain or heart.
It also generates anxiety in some patients, as it is a confined narrow tunnel that makes considerable noise. In Australia, MRI is readily available but is costly in private centers and difficult to access in public hospitals. Major advancements in MRI has resulted in improved cartilage mapping and prognosticating tools that enables clinicians and patients to make more informed decisions.
A bone scan is functional X-ray take of an individual after the blood cells are labeled with markers. It is a safe imaging modality that also utilizes radiation to help with the diagnosis.
It has less radiation that a conventional CT scan but more radiation than a X-ray. It is particularly useful in children, where it may be difficult to know where in the body is the area of interest, and in adults were one may want to look at the blood supply or the stability of a prosthesis.
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North Melbourne VIC 3051
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Melbourne Orthopaedic Group
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Windsor VIC 3181
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© 2012-2014 Jit Balakumar - Paediatric & Adult Orthopaedic Surgeon, Melbourne
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