Understand how these imaging tests differ
When aches, pains and other symptoms stem from a problem with the musculoskeletal system (meaning the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and joints) your doctor may order an imaging test to help determine the underlying cause.
There are several ways of looking inside the body, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Another one, high-resolution ultrasound, offers some advantages over the others for musculoskeletal problems.
“The most common exam we do is a shoulder ultrasound to evaluate a person for rotator cuff problems, bursitis or tendinosis,” explains radiologist Patricia Delzell, MD. Ultrasound also is commonly done for problems with tendons, ligaments and bursae in other parts of the body, as well as for arthritis, muscle injury, nerve entrapment and other conditions.
When is ultrasound used vs MRI?
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