X-rays are images that use small doses of ionizing radiation to take pictures of the inside of your body called radiographs.
Most X-rays don’t require any special preparation. The doctor may ask you to take off jewelry, eyeglasses, or any metal objects or clothing that could get in the way of the image. Doctors can take images while you stand up or lie down. It depends on the area of your body being examined. The X-ray tube hangs over the table. The film is in a drawer under the table.
The machine sends a beam of radiation through your body. Your hard, dense bones block that beam, so they show up as white on the film below you. The radiation also goes through softer tissue like muscle and fat, which appear in shades of gray in the X-ray. The air in your lungs will look black in the image. You won’t feel anything during an X-ray, but it can be hard to hold still. The technician may take images from a few different angles. We use pillows or sandbags to prop up a body part to get a better view of the area. Sometimes, you might need to hold your breath so the image doesn’t blur.
Your orthopedic provider will review your x-rays on a computer screen within minutes of the x-ray being taken. The provider will then go over the results with you.
A magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) is used to diagnose a disease or injury by using powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer. These are used to create a detailed picture of the body without using radiation. An MRI can also be used to see how well a patient is responding to treatment.
MRIs can be taken on any part of the body. An MRI of the brain and spinal cord is used to show blood vessel damage, brain injury, cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and strokes. Bone and joint MRIs are used to discover bone infections, cancer, damage to joints, and disc problems in the spine.
When preparing for an MRI let your doctor know if you have any health problems, recently have had surgery, have any allergies to food or medicine, have asthma, are pregnant, or might be pregnant. Metal is not allowed in a room where an MRI takes place. If you have a metal-based device such as an artificial heart valve, body piercing, cochlear implant, drug pump, metal joints or limbs, etc. tell your doctor before the test begins. Some ink may contain metal, so make certain to talk with your doctor if you have tattoos. Before going into the MRI room remove your cell phone, coins, dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, keys, underwire bra, watch, and wig.
When the patient is ready for the MRI, they will lie on a table that slides in and out of the MRI machine. During the MRI the body must be completely still, straps may be used to help keep the patient motionless. While in the machine the patient may hear a loud thumping or tapping sound; this is the machine creating energy to take pictures. An MRI may cause a twitching sensation due to the nerves being stimulated.
Carolina Regional Orthopedics will schedule your appointment for your MRI at the facility of your choice.
EMG/NCS testing can be performed at Carolina Regional Orthopedics and will be scheduled at check-out once your provider orders the test.
An Electromyogram (EMG) is an electrical test for the muscles and nerves. There are two types of EMG tests, the Nerve Conduction Studies, and the Needle Examination. These tests can be done in-office and take on average between 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the extensiveness of the test. A physician may order an EMG for a patient who is having problems with their muscles or nerves. More specifically, for a patient who has a pinched nerve in the back or neck, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs, and weakness of the muscle or fatigue.
During an EMG, the patient will lie on the examination table beside the EMG machine, which looks very similar to a desktop or laptop. The Nerve Conduction is the first part of the EMG testing. The physician will begin by attaching small recording electrodes to the surface of a limb, and touching other points of skin to deliver the electrode shocks. During this part, short electrical shocks will be administered to the arm or leg indicating the speed at which your nerves are conducting the electrical current. This will provide the state of health or disease your nerves may be in. If the nerve is not functioning properly it will be evident due to the failure of the current not moving through it properly. This will create a tingling sensation, which may or may not cause pain during each shock. This may be repeated three to four times for each extremity being studied.
The second part of an EMG includes the needle examination. This begins by inserting a needle into the relaxed muscle and moving it inside to record the muscle activity. The physician will begin hearing a radio-static-like sound, which is the sound of the muscle activity being amplified by the EMG machine. The needle insertion is usually performed on five to six muscles depending on the amount of muscles affected. This test is used to see if there is a nerve problem, or if the disease is in the muscle instead of the nerve. When the needle is first inserted there may be some pain, but when the needle is inside the muscle the patient may only feel discomfort or pressure.
There is minimal preparation for an EMG. The patient may drive to and from the test and may continue to take the most prescribed medications. Patients who are taking blood thinners or any medication for Myasthenia Gravis need to talk to their physician before beginning the EMG. After the EMG, you may immediately resume regular activity.