Technical advances in imaging have increased their applicability to diagnosing conditions of the musculoskeletal system, especially in the postoperative setting, where traditionally metallic artifacts have hindered evaluation. Advances in computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine have resulted in improved overall image quality. Specific modifications of imaging parameters, especially in CT and MRI, have improved the radiologist's ability to diagnose potential hardware complications such as loosening and osteolysis. Sonography can evaluate the periprosthetic soft tissues and enables both diagnostic information and therapeutic treatment at the same sitting. Lastly, diagnostic scintigraphic applications such as positron emission tomography (PET) have increased specificity in diagnosing potential infection in the arthroplasty setting. This review discusses some of the current applications of CT, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine in evaluating the postoperative orthopedic patient, concentrating on the appropriate imaging evaluation for the painful arthroplasty patient.
About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.