Introduction to imaging: Bone and joint
In the sixth part of our series, John Frank discusses bone and joint imaging
The best way to consider bone and joint imaging is to think of bone disease as “congenital” or “acquired.” The suitability of the various imaging techniques depends on the type of disease.
Congenital bone disease can affect a limb, a single bone, or several bones and includes conditions such as the mucopolysaccharidoses, achondroplasia, and other dwarfisms. The abnormalities may be of little consequence or part of a wider syndrome. The best way to image these conditions is using conventional x rays because the anatomy of the skeleton is affected and changes will indicate a diagnosis. However, you may occasionally need to use computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging; nuclear medicine imaging and ultrasound have no part to play in congenital bone disease.
Figures 1 to 4 show examples of congenital malformations. Consult specialised radiology and paediatric textbooks to see the huge number of congenital abnormalities with bone manifestations.12