When you’re injured in an auto accident, prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to getting on the road to recovery. Imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, are powerful tools that can help diagnose injuries. They provide visualization of the internal structures of your body using different technologies.
At Tulsa Accident Care Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we have state-of-the-art imaging on-site, which allows us to diagnose injuries quickly. Imaging technologies play an important role in one of the most important steps in auto accident care, which is getting a proper diagnosis.
Imaging technologies vary, and each has distinct advantages. Depending on your situation, your provider determines which imaging test is the most appropriate. In some cases, your provider may order more than one test. In this blog, the providers at Tulsa Accident Care Center explain what CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays do.
When is an X-ray warranted?
An X-ray transmits a small amount of radiation across the body. Calcium-rich tissues (bones and teeth) block the radiation, making them appear white on the image.
The quickest and most accessible method of imaging is an X-ray. It takes just a few minutes to perform and gives doctors a visual of your musculoskeletal system. Often, X-rays are the first imaging tests performed, because they can help uncover serious bone or joint injuries quickly.
X-rays are useful in detecting:
- Broken bones
- Joint damage
An X-ray will not reveal very minor bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, or inflammation. However, an X-ray may be required to rule out a bone injury if your provider suspects you have a soft tissue injury, such as a tendon rupture.
What injuries require a CT scan?
A computed tomography scan (CT scan), transmits radiation through the body. It provides significantly more detailed information than an X-ray study.
While CT scans take a little longer than X-rays, they're still quick, and they reveal much more. CT scans can detect the following:
- Organ damage
- Blood clots
- Bone fractures
Your provider may use the results of your CT scan along with other imaging tests to get a complete picture of what’s going on.
When is an MRI appropriate?
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a powerful magnet to pass radio waves through the body. Particles in the body react to the energy and create detailed images of the body’s structures, including soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRIs are radiation-free.
Some injuries from car accidents are too subtle to see on an X-ray, and sometimes, even on a CT scan. That’s where an MRI comes in. An MRI offers ideal visualization for bones and soft tissues.
MRIs are particularly beneficial for spotting the following:
- Cartilage loss
- Joint inflammation
- Nerve compression
- Spinal injuries
- Ligament tears
- Cartilage tears
- Muscle damage
- Tendon ruptures
Depending on the results of your evaluation, your provider will order the most appropriate imaging. And the appropriate imaging, can, in turn, help your provider make the right diagnosis and provide the right treatment.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and want prompt, expert care, call 918-888-8080 or book an appointment online with Tulsa Accident Care Center today.