The most basic additional test that many patients undergo is a simple x-ray. X-rays are done right in the office by a skilled technician. Two to 3 views of a body part are taken to demonstrate many different conditions from fractures to arthritis. An x-ray is a good way to monitor the progress of bone healing after an injury or surgery. X-rays do not always tell the full story about other conditions such as ligament injuries. Be sure to tell the x-ray technician if there is any chance that you are pregnant.
Injections are mostly used for treatment and are given right in the office. Numbing medicine or a mixture with cortisone solution can be injected into a joint cavity, the area surrounding a tendon, or near a nerve. When used for diagnosis, the injection is given to see how much pain is relieved while the medicine is working. This lets the doctor know if the pain symptoms are actually coming from a certain area or whether another area may really be the main problem. After an injection is given, the area will usually be sore for a few days. If cortisone is part of the injection mixture, it usually kicks in after about a week. If redness, swelling, or warmth develops at the site of injection, be sure to call the office immediately.
A Nerve Conduction Study may be ordered by the physician or required by your insurance carrier. If certain nerves are under compression or have been damaged, this will show up on the test. By administering a mild electrical current across the nerve, the test produces actual numbers that measure how seriously each nerve has been affected. The test can also distinguish problems in one nerve versus another. After the test, the patient will visit with Dr. Henry to review the results.
A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is a high tech picture taken of the inside of the body at one point in time. We will schedule you to receive this test at a special imaging center and have you return to Dr. Henry to review the results of the test on the next visit following the study. It is very good at showing the anatomy of the parts of the body and is usually ordered when looking for evidence of a ligament injury. MRI is also the main study used to detect masses or tumors inside the body. Conditions of swelling, inflammation, or poor blood supply also show clearly in the pictures. Some patients can get nervous lying still for the test, but new machines have been designed to minimize anxiety or claustrophobia.
A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is an advanced form of x-ray that can make a three dimensional image. We will schedule you to receive this test at a special imaging center and have you return to Dr. Henry to review the results of the test on the next visit following the study. It is very accurate for bone healing. The primary reason for ordering a CT scan is to evaluate whether two bones have healed to each other completely when regular x-rays do not give the full answer.
A bone scan creates an image that is very sensitive to abnormalities of bones, ligaments, and joints. We will schedule you to receive this test at a special imaging center and have you return to Dr. Henry to review the results of the test on the next visit following the study. A dye is injected through an IV catheter into the veins and pictures are taken afterwards at different time intervals. If there is a serious condition happening in one of these tissues, it will show up on the bone scan. A bone scan is mainly used to prove that a serious condition does not exist.