Advanced imaging predominantly refers to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These imaging techniques are performed in large scanners. Fluoroscopy is moving or real time x-ray technology.
Computed Tomography (CT)
This technique uses the same technology as conventional x-rays but ‘slice’ images are taken. These slice images can then be layered together to provide a 3-dimensional view of the bone. As this technique uses x-rays this form of imaging lends itself very well to the assessment of bones. Other areas such as the nasal and thoracic cavity can also be assessed well using this technique. This technique is not so good for assessing soft tissues unless there is an abnormal volume of mineral within the tissue.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This imaging technique uses a large magnetic force across the body to differentiate between the different tissue types. Slice images are taken of varying thickness to assess the tissues in the body. This technique is very useful for assessing soft tissues of the body and can be used to assess for spinal disease. This technique can assess bone although it is not as sensitive for some bone diseases.
Which is better CT or MRI?
Neither technique is ‘better’ than the other they just lend themselves to different imaging uses. Given that MVS is an orthopaedic clinic, CT will be much more commonly used as we need to assess bone more frequently. We will have an on-site 16 slice CT scanner and a visiting 1.5 tesla MRI scanner.
This again uses the same technology as conventional x-rays but at a lower dose. The images can be moving so we can see structures in real time. For our orthopaedic clinic, we use this imaging modality to assess for implant placement and bone alignment during surgery. The application of this technology in theatre can allow minimally invasive techniques to be performed i.e. surgery can be performed through smaller and less debilitating incisions.
We have on-site fluoroscopy via a mini C-arm – Orthoscan Pulse. To our knowledge, we are the first veterinary specialist clinic in the UK to install this compact technology.
Our surgeons, Ben and Steve have considerable experience in the interpretation of orthopaedic advanced images. However, in some cases we require expert assistance from specialist radiologists. We are able to access an opinion from a pool of such qualified people as and when required.