Diagnostic Imaging Referrals at HTC
Hempstead Therapy Centre Physiotherapists are experienced and qualified to be recognised as diagnostic imaging requestors for MRI, X-Ray and Ultrasound with agreed imaging service providers. Diagnostic imaging is requested under appropriate clinical conditions relating to a patient’s specific symptoms and clinical presentation. Should you be a privately medically insured or are a medico-legal client then referrals of this nature would be subject to your insurer’s policies or your medico-legal 3rd party written authorisation. Self-funding clients may be referred directly by our team under the appropriate clinical criteria. See information below relating to each type of imaging and its optimal utilisation.
M R I (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, and radio waves to generate images from within the body. MRI does not involve X-rays or radiation exposure, which distinguishes it from CT, CAT, or PET scans. MRI Scans are frequently used to assess skeletal conditions and/or injuries for example preparation for joint replacements, assessing ligament & cartilage conditions. A single body area scan can usually take between 20 and 35 mins to complete. A safety questionnaire relating in particular to metal implants etc (which are a contraindication for this type of scan). Occasionally a contrast (dye) injection to enhance images may be required depending upon the type of scan sequences required.
That these machines can be quite noisy and patients are placed upon a table that moves in and out of a tube, encompassing the area to be scanned. Claustrophobic patients may want to discuss the planned procedure with the involved Radiography team prior to attending an appointment for a scan.
Medical ultrasound (also known as diagnostic sonography or ultrasonography) is a diagnostic imaging technique based on the application of soundwaves. It is used to see internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs. Its aim is often to find a source of a disease or to exclude any pathology such as injuries (you may also be familiar with its use for pregnancy scans). Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies that are higher than those audible to humans. Ultrasonic images, also known as sonograms, are made by sending pulses of ultrasound into tissue using a probe that glides over applied gel. The sound echoes off the tissue; with different tissues reflecting varying degrees of sound. These echoes are recorded and displayed as an image to the operator. Many different types of images can be formed using sonographic instruments.
Compared to other prominent methods of medical imaging, ultrasound has several advantages. It provides images in real-time and can be portable. It is usually substantially lower in cost, to operate and therefore lower in cost to clients. It also does not use radiation.
Drawbacks include various limits to its field of view, difficulty imaging structures behind bone and air. A skilled Sonographer can adapt to these restrictions quite often.
Plain Film X-Rays
Radiography – i.e. X-Rays is an imaging technique using controlled radiation exposure to view the internal form of an object. To create the image, beams of X-rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation, are produced by an X-ray generator and are projected toward the object. A certain amount of X-ray is absorbed by the object, dependent on its density and structural composition. The X-rays that pass through the object are captured behind the object by a detector (either photographic film or a digital detector). The level of exposure to radiation is usually very low and extremely well regulated, controlled, and recorded by Radiography teams. There are of course patients that should not undergo this type of imaging (i.e. pregnant women) but each patient is screened with safety questionnaires prior to any procedure being completed to ensure safety and disease control.