If you or someone you know has had knee pain and after their diagnostic testing, they received a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis, you may be more familiar with the term “osteophytes” or as their more common name, “bone spurs.”

Bone spurs have been defined as “abnormal bony lumps that appear on the surface of joints that have suffered some degree of cartilage loss.” Cartilage is the main type of connective tissue seen throughout the body, serving multiple purposes for our joints, bones, spine, lungs, ears and nose.

How are bone spurs detected?

There are numerous methods for identifying and diagnosing knee osteoarthritis. Typically, the first exam is x-ray, or as they are known in radiology, “radiographs.” Multiple views of the knee will be taken for the radiologist to review.

However, symptoms of osteoarthritis may arise before the damage can be seen in standard X-rays. For this reason, radiologists and medical providers may recommend MRI, CT and ultrasound forms of imaging, which are superior for detecting early osteoarthritis.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is very sensitive imaging that can reveal subtle changes in bony and soft tissues. CT (Computed Tomography) examinations, also called CT scans, are excellent for showing bone spurs and the ways they affect adjacent soft tissues.  Ultrasound is extremely sensitive for identifying synovial cysts that sometimes form in people with osteoarthritis. Ultrasound is excellent for evaluating the ligaments and tendons around the joint, which can be stretched or torn because of osteoarthritis.

One or more of these technologies may be considered appropriate for diagnosis and determining appropriate treatment plans.

MRI studies are performed throughout the Capitol Imaging Services (CIS) affiliate network, with CT and ultrasound performed at select locations. CIS offers more convenience through numerous locations in the southeast U.S. which results in more appointment times available. Simply, Capitol Imaging Services provides the technology and testing services unmatched by any other independent imaging provider – and most hospitals.

Click the REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT button (above right) to send us a secure email requesting assistance. Our experienced associates will assist you in selecting the appropriate CIS facility for your imaging exam.

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