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Diagnostic Services

Discover the source of your pain with X-rays and MRIs from Stevens Point Orthopedics.

Treat your pain and discover the sources of your discomfort with diagnostic services from Stevens Point Orthopedics. Using X-rays and MRIs, the professionals at Stevens Point Orthopedics will get to the root of your issues so you can get back into your routine.

MRI machine

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Three days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – SPO offers Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) certified by The Joint Commission and the American College of Radiology. Because an MRI produces images from any angle with great clarity, it provides a wealth of diagnostic information.

An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take images of structures and organs inside your body. 

During an MRI, the area being studied is placed inside the MRI machine. Radio waves are sent through your body, causing the atoms in your body to send out a signal that’s picked up by a scanner. A computer turns this signal into images that can be viewed in the operating room or in an office exam room.

You may be referred for an MRI by your provider or the Wisconsin Performance Institute. They’re looking to locate the pain source and examine possible musculoskeletal issues. An MRI may help diagnose:

  • Rotator-cuff injuries in the shoulder
  • Knee pain caused by a torn ACL, PCL or meniscus, or other soft-tissue issues
  • Bone tumors/cancers
  • Causes of sports injuries
  • Infections

Due to the strong magnet in the scanner, people with implanted devices or metal in their body cannot have an MRI. Prior to your MRI, a staff member will go over a safety questionnaire to ensure you can actually have an MRI. 

Anyone with the following will not be able to have an MRI:

  • Heart pacemaker
  • Cochlear implant or metal hearing implants
  • Metal surgical implants (metal rods, clips, plates, or pins)
  • Surgical implants to stop bleeding in the brain
  • Metal shrapnel
  • Any metal that is susceptible to the MRI’s magnetic field
  • Women in their first 12 weeks of pregnancy

What to expect during your MRI

A technician will position you on the scanning table. You may be placed head-first or feet-first into the scanner, depending on the body part being scanned. You’ll be given earplugs to help muffle the knocking sound caused by electricity passing through the magnetic coil, and you will need to lie as still as possible to prevent the images from blurring. 

Occasionally, patients are given an injection to enhance the clarity of some images. The tech will monitor you from an adjoining room where they can see the images.

The exam lasts about 30 minutes, depending on the body part being scanned. After your scan, your study will be read by a radiologist, and your provider will review the results with you in a follow-up appointment.

How to prepare for an MRI

No special preparations are needed for MRIs, though you’ll need to remove all metallic objects, including glasses, earrings, belts, and change. You should wear comfortable clothing that does not have zippers or snaps. 

You may continue taking prescribed medications. Sometimes, patients are given a mild sedative to lessen claustrophobia-related anxiety.

X-Rays

We use digital radiography to reduce patients’ time in the X-ray room and produce high-quality images. With digital X-rays, there are no harsh chemicals, special plates, or waiting around. 

Within seconds of taking a digital X-ray, the signal is transmitted to a computer where the image appears. This lets the technician see the images immediately and decreases the patient’s radiology exam time.

In simple terms, radiography is the taking of X-rays – essentially using a special camera to take pictures inside the body.

X-rays are waves of electromagnetic radiation similar to visible light. As the electromagnetic waves hit the body, they penetrate the structures at different rates. 

X-rays have a harder time completely penetrating through bone, causing bones to show up white on an image, while soft tissues show up gray because X-rays penetrate more easily.

Currently three types of X-ray technology are in general use: conventional, computed, and digital radiography.

  • Conventional radiography uses chemicals and film in a darkroom to produce a viewable image.
  • Computed radiography eliminates the chemicals and darkroom in favor of X-ray cassettes holding an imaging plate. The plate is inserted into an image reader, the reader reads a barcode on the imaging plate, and a laser pulls the image off the plate so it can be viewed on a computer.
  • Digital radiography is a significant step forward. Instead of inserting imaging plates into a reader and waiting for images to appear, digital radiography sends a signal from the imaging detector directly to the computer.