Imaging with Dr. Burns

Dr. Burns has full x-ray capabilities and ultrasound in her office, making it easy to evaluate your bone and joint problems during your office visit. When Dr. Burns orders advanced imaging such as MRI or CT scan, you can be sure her goal is to obtain detailed images of your problem area to more accurately diagnose your orthopedic issue or to create a detailed plan for surgery.

SSM Imaging integrates seamlessly into your electronic medical record, making it easy for Dr. Burns and her staff to access images for office visits or surgery. The reports are also quickly available via MyChart. Depending on cost or insurance requirements, you may also obtain your advanced imaging from another facility such as Metro Imaging.

Dr. Burns will often use Blueprint or Signature software to plan for surgery. This allows for a computer simulation of your shoulder replacement prior to surgery, and helps her to best understand what sizing and positioning will work best to give you the best shoulder replacement possible.

MRI Imaging

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI imaging is very helpful to evaluate soft tissues, including things like ligaments and tendons, the rotator cuff, the labrum of the shoulder, the cartilage, and the muscles. This type of imaging does not expose you to radiation. A powerful magnet is used to create the images. The detail provided by the MRI is influenced by the size of the magnet, with many outpatient imaging centers having less than 1T (one Tesla, a measure of the magnet’s strength). SSM has many 3T MRI machines, as well as open MRI and large bore MRI, to make your imaging quality the best possible while having a comfortable experience.

Occasionally, Dr. Burns will order MRI with dye injected into the joint. This is called an MRI arthrogram, and can provide more detail than an MRI without dye can provide. This does require an injection of a small amount of dye, or contrast, prior to the MRI imaging procedure.

MRI may not be appropriate for patients with metal implants, including pacemakers and spinal stimulators. Metal implants or fragments around the eye are brain may also prevent patients from safely having an MRI.

Patients who have metal in their bones, including previous joint replacements, metal plates and screws from fractures, are usually able to obtain MRI without concern for any problems related to the orthopedic implant. However, having metal close to or located at the joint that requires imaging may make the images difficult to obtain and interpret. In that situation, Dr. Burns may request other imaging, such as CT scan.

CT Scan

CT scan is very helpful to evaluate the structure of the bones. CT scans can also provide details regarding soft tissue, but may not provide as much detail as MRI. Dr. Burns will often use CT to evaluate the damage to an arthritic shoulder prior to shoulder replacement. CT scans do use radiation to obtain the images, but SSM Imaging is committed to using the minimum and safest dose of radiation necessary to obtain the images.

Occasionally, Dr. Burns will order CT with dye injected into the joint in question. This is called an CT arthrogram, and can provide more detail than an CT without dye can provide. This does require an injection of a small amount of dye, or contrast, prior to the CT imaging procedure.

CT scan can be safely performed in patients who have pacemakers, spinal stimulators, metal fragments around their eyes or brain, and in joints or bones that already have metal in them, such as replacements, plates, pins, and screws. CT scan can be used to evaluate whether fractures have healed.

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