Diagnostic Services

Discover the source of your pain with X-rays and MRIs from Stevens Point Orthopedics.
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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 to help get you back into your routine.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

An MRI can help locate the source of your pain.
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Three days a week – Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday – 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.

What is an MRI?

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 is picked up by a scanner. A computer turns this signal into images on a computer.

MRI images are digital, so they can be viewed and stored on a computer. The images can also be viewed remotely, such as in the operating room or in an office exam room.

Why is it done?

Your provider may want an MRI to help locate the source of your pain and look at possible musculoskeletal issues. An MRI may help determine and diagnose:

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

Can anyone have an MRI?

Due to the strong magnet in an MRI 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 with you to ensure you can actually have an MRI performed.

Anyone who has 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 will be given earplugs to help muffle the knocking sound caused by electricity being passed through the magnetic coil, and you will need to lie as still as possible to prevent the images from blurring. Occasionally, patients may be 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 will 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 any prescribed medications. Sometimes, patients are given a mild sedative to lessen claustrophobia-related anxiety.

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X-Rays

Waves of electromagnetic radiation which take internal pictures of your body.
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We use digital radiography to reduce patients’ time in the X-ray room and produce high-quality images. With digital X-rays, there’s no harsh chemicals, no special plates, and no more 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.

What is radiography?

X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen and have become a crucial tool for physicians to diagnose and treat many medical conditions.

X-ray technology has evolved immensely. 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. It does away with the need to insert imaging plates into a reader and wait for images to appear. Instead, digital radiography sends a signal from the imaging detector directly to the computer.

What are X-rays?

X-rays are waves of electromagnetic radiation similar to visible light. A machine produces the X-rays, and they penetrate the body. As the electromagnetic waves hit the body, they penetrate the structures at different rates. For example, 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 on an image because it penetrates more easily. In simple terms, radiography – the taking of X-rays – is essentially using a special camera to take pictures inside the body.

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