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X-ray (Radiology)

There are a number of radiological procedures commonly used by our specialists in the diagnosis of musculo-skeletal and orthopaedic conditions.

We have compiled the following information for your reference.
Please refer to your Doctor for further information and instructions regarding your specific radiological procedure.

Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a new modality that has been found to be useful in the treatment of the following musculo-skeletal or orthopaedic conditions:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis- heel pain with or without a spur
  • Lateral Epicondylitis – tennis elbow
  • Patella Tendonitis- jumper’s knee
  • Medial Epicondylitis- golfer’s elbow
  • Calcific Tendonitis of the shoulder
  • Trochanteric bursitis- hip bursitis
  • Pseudoarthrodosis and non-united fractures

The treatment offers a safe and effective alternative to conventional methods and surgery. Your doctor will advise you if this is a suitable treatment for your particular condition.

ESWT involves a specialised machine, which utilises a shock wave (sound wave) to decrease nerve sensitivity in the painful region and trigger the body’s own natural repair system.

ESWT requires no fasting, medications or injections and usually takes about 30 minutes. Treatment sessions are scheduled once a week for three weeks.

The pulsation felt during treatment is not regarded as painful, however as the intensity increases, slight discomfort is sometimes experienced. At very high levels, bruising to the skin can occur but is not a common side effect.

After ESWT

Some patients report an increase in their pain level in the days immediately following treatment. This is regarded as normal and usually subsides during the next few weeks. It is best to consult your doctor for pain management during this time.

The use of anti-inflammatory medication and ice-packs is discouraged during the treatment phase so your doctor can accurately assess the effectiveness of ESWT.


ESWT may not be suitable for you if you have any of the following:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cardiac pacemakers
  • Local infections or malignancies

Nuclear Medicine is used to look at the bones of the body and the function of many of the body’s internal organs such as the heart, liver and lungs. This procedure can also detect the presence of disease.

The Bone Scan

Bone scans require no fasting beforehand but do require you to be available for the two stages of the procedure approximately 2-3 hours apart. During the first stage you will be given an injection into a vein in your arm. The injected fluid contains a very low dose of radioactive material, which is harmless and is excreted from the body through the urine.

This material allows the radiologist to take an image of the organ or bone of interest during the second stage. You will be required to stay still for 20-30 minutes while the images are taken.

The images will then be reviewed by the radiologist and a report prepared for your doctor. The images and report should be available to take with you or can be sent via courier to your doctor if the matter is urgent or you are unable to wait.

Preparing for a bone scan

  • You will not be required to undress during this procedure.
  • Your doctor will advise you if you need to fast or stop any medication prior to the procedure.
  • You should inform x-ray staff of any allergies when you schedule your appointment and again when you arrive for the procedure.
  • You should inform x-ray staff if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Make sure you bring any relevant x-rays to your appointment.

Side effects

Allergy or side effects to the injection are uncommon. Most people are able to resume their normal daily activities after the procedure.

If you have any queries concerning this procedure please don’t hesitate to consult your doctor prior to your appointment.

This examination uses a special scanner to take x-ray images of the body in sections or slices. The patient is required to lie on a narrow bed, which then enters the large spherical scanner. The scanner gradually takes cross-section images of the head and body. These images are then fed into a computer for the radiologist to view.

The CT scan

The CT scan takes between 20 minutes to 1 hour to complete. Depending on what part/organ of your body is being scanned you may be required to fast from food and/or fluids for up to four hours prior to the examination. Your doctor and the radiology staff will be able to guide you.

You will need to lie still on the narrow bed during the scan. You may also be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the examination. An injection into a vein of your arm is only given if specific parts of the body are to be viewed.

During the examination, the radiologist sits in an adjacent room with a glass wall so you are in view at all times. He or she will speak with you during the examination via a microphone. Parents are usually able to stay with their child during this examination.

The computer images take up to an hour or more to process and report on. You may be required to return later to collect the films and report, alternatively they can be sent directly to your doctor via a courier.

Preparing for a CT scan

  • You will be required to change into a gown for this examination.
  • Your doctor will advise you if you need to fast or stop any medication prior to the procedure.
  • You should inform x-ray staff if you have asthma or any allergies when you schedule your appointment and again when you arrive for the procedure.
  • You should inform x-ray staff if you are pregnant.
  • Make sure you bring any relevant x-rays, CT, ultrasound or MRI scans to your appointment.

This specialised equipment can take very clear and detailed cross-section images of the body including the organs and muscles. The use of very strong electro-magnetic and radio-frequency waves rather than x-rays make this a very safe and effective method of scanning the body.

The MRI Scan

The MRI scan takes about 30 minutes and you will not need to fast beforehand. You will be required to lie on the scanning table, which then moves you into the scanner. During the scan you may hear humming from the machine but this is normal. You may be offered headphones to listen to music while you have the scan.

The radiographer is in a room separated by glass and can see you at all times. He/she will speak with you via an intercom while the scan is being done. If you prefer, you can arrange to have a friend sit with you during the scan, as there are no x-rays to worry about.

Occasionally an injection of contrast solution into a vein in your arm may be required to help show a special area of interest, but this is not common.

The scanned images can take a number of hours to develop and are usually sent with a report directly to your doctor.

Preparing for a MRI scan

  • You will need to change into a gown for this procedure and remove all jewellery, hair-clips and hearing aids prior to the scan.
  • You do not have to fast from food or fluids before this procedure.
  • You will need to inform your doctor and the x-ray staff if you have had a joint replacement or if you have aneurysm clips, cardiac valves or metal plates in your body.
  • You should inform the staff if you have undergone any brain or eye surgery.
  • People with cardiac pacemakers cannot have a MRI scan.

Ultrasound technology has been used for diagnostic purposes for the last 30 years. This popular and non-invasive procedure uses high frequency sound to create images of the body’s organs, soft tissues, muscles and joints. Doppler ultrasound is used to look at the blood flow through arteries in the body.

You will be required to sit or lie depending on which part of the body is being viewed. Your ultrasound technician will move a hand held probe over the skin to get a number of angled views of the joint, organ or muscle. A gel-like substance applied to the skin helps the probe or transducer glide smoothly over the skin.

Occasionally depending on the area to be scanned, you may be required to change position or hold your breath during the procedure. Parents can be with children during the entire procedure.

Your completed films and report will usually be ready in 20-30 minutes.

Preparing for an Ultrasound

  • Depending on the scan, patients may be required to fast for several hours prior to the scan or attend with a full bladder.
  • You will need to follow the pre-procedural instructions recommended by your doctor and the x-ray staff.