Treatment Programs

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Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention

The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers state-of-the-art diagnostic exams including MRI and CT, interpretation by specialty-trained radiologists, and image-guided procedures for the bones, joints, and spine.

From childhood breaks to sport-related injuries to complex fractures of the spine, the Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides patients with:

Specialist radiologists, dedicated to your care

At Mass General Imaging, every scan is read by a specialty-trained radiologist: an expert who has extensive training and real-world experience diagnosing, and in some cases treating, the musculoskeletal system.

The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program gives patients access to the expertise of nine dedicated musculoskeletal radiologists from the Musculoskeletal Imaging & Intervention division of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology—experts in the spine, bones, joints and muscles. This group includes internationally recognized authorities on sports-related injuries, bone and muscle tumors, and minimally invasive, image-guided treatments for joint and spine disorders. Members of the team have helped to develop state-of-the-art tests and treatments for conditions such as joint pain and osteoporosis.

Coordinated care

We work in close consultation with your doctor to schedule and plan your exam. Then we provide swift results, including a written report and image access (if your doctor desires), within 48 to 72 hours. The information discovered through imaging helps your doctor plan the next steps in your care.

Emphasis on safety

Our commitment to safety extends through everything we do, from exam-room procedures to leading-edge research. We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure—without giving up image quality. We employ physicists and engineers to calibrate and maintain our equipment at the highest level, and we invest to replace outmoded equipment and bring the latest technology to our patients.

 

The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers diagnostic exams and/or image-guided exams for the following conditions.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the spine.

Arthritis

Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a disease that may cause bone or joint collapse as a result of loss of blood supply to the bone due to injury or other causes (such as long-term use of certain medications).

Back and Neck Pain

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back that restrict mobility. Neck pain is pain that occurs in the area of the seven cervical vertebrae in the neck area.

Benign Bone Tumors

There are many benign bone tumors that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Bone Cancers

There are different types of bone cancers, which are typically defined as a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue.

Bursitis

Bursitis is caused an inflamed bursa, a closed, fluid-filled sac that functions as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body.

Calluses and Corns

Calluses are protective pads made up of the thickened upper layer of skin due to repeated rubbing of the area. Corns are small calluses that develop on the top of the toes due to pressure or rubbing against shoes or other toes.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through an opening from the wrist to the hand called the carpal tunnel.

Chondroblastoma

Sometimes called Codman's tumor, a chondroblastoma is a rare type of benign bone tumor that originates from cartilage.

Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in cartilage cells.

Congenital Hand Deformities

Congenital anomalies are deformities that are present at birth.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome feels similar to the pain that occurs from hitting the "funny" bone in your elbow. The "funny" bone in the elbow is actually the ulnar nerve, a nerve that crosses the elbow (the ulnar nerve begins in the side of the neck and ends in the fingers).

Dupuytrens Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture, also called Dupuytren's disease, usually begins with a thickening of the skin in the palm of the hand, which may develop into a hard lump or thick band that eventually could cause the fingers to contract, or pull into the palm.

Elbow Pain and Problems

Common elbow problems include the following: arthritis - common forms of arthritis, bursitis, fractures, and injury.

Enchondroma

An enchondroma is a type of benign (non-cancerous) bone tumor that originates from cartilage.

Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that occurs primarily in the bone or soft tissue.

Fibrous Dysplasia

Fibrous dysplasia is a chronic disorder in which bone expands due to abnormal development of fibrous tissue, often resulting in uneven growth of bones, pain, brittle bones, or bone deformity.

Foot Pain and Problems

Foot pain is often caused by improper foot function. Improperly fitted shoes can worsen and, in some cases, cause foot problems.

Fractures

A fracture is a partial or complete bone break. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed.

Giant Cell Tumor

A giant cell tumor is one that is made up of a large number of benign (non-cancerous) cells that form an aggressive tumor - usually near the end of the bone near a joint.

Gout

Gout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits at the joints.

Hand Pain and Problems

There are many common hand problems that can interfere with activities of daily living (ADLs),

Hip Fracture

A hip fracture is a break in the femur (thigh bone) of the hip joint.

Hip Problems

The following are some of the most common hip problems: arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, bursitis, and hip pointer.

Infectious Arthritis

Infectious arthritis is an infection in the joint (synovial) fluid and joint tissues.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a form of arthritis in children ages 16 or younger that causes inflammation and stiffness of joints for more than six weeks.

Knee Pain and Problems

Many knee problems are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint (i.e., arthritis). Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee.

Kyphosis

A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by kyphosis shows evidence of a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving a "humpback" appearance.

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is characterized by pain in the back side of the elbow and forearm, along the thumb side when the arm is alongside the body with the thumb turned away. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist backward away from the palm.

Ligament Injuries to the Knee

Ligament injuries to the knee include injuries to one of the four knee ligaments (elastic bands of tissue that connect bones to each other).

Low Back Pain

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.

Lumbar Disc Disease (Herniated Disc)

Lumbar disc disease occurs in the lumbar area of the spine. As discs degenerate, fragments of the disc material can press on the nerve roots located just behind the disc space, causing pain, numbness or changes in sensation.

Lumbar Strain (Weight Lifter's Back)

A lumbar strain is an injury to the lower back, which results in damaged tendons and muscles that spasm and feel sore.

Lyme Disease

While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Two of these well-known diseases are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfers and Baseball Elbow)

Medial epicondylitis, also known as golfer's elbow, baseball elbow, suitcase elbow, or forehand tennis elbow, is characterized by pain from the elbow to the wrist on the palm side of the forearm.

Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma bone disease is cancer that affects certain white blood cells called plasma cells.

Neck Pain

The neck is located between the head and the shoulders. Because of its location and range of motion, it is often left unprotected and subject to injury.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative, joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the neck, lower back, knees, hips and/or fingers.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue, causing weakening of the bones in the hips, spine and wrists.

Paget's Disease of the Bone

Paget's disease of the bone is a chronic bone disorder in which bones become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become dense, but fragile, because of excessive breakdown and deformation of bone.

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is a condition caused by inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin bone, often caused by overuse of the knee joint.

Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome (Runner's Knee)

Patellofemoral stress syndrome is a condition common among runners involving knee pain caused by irritation of the cartilage of the kneecap.

Pelvis Problems

Two of the more common pelvic problems include pelvic fractures and osteitis pubis.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis. The disease is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in symptoms, characterized by joint inflammation.

Reactive Arthritis (Reiter's Syndrome)

eactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome, is a type of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to an infection somewhere in the body.

Repetitive Motion Injury

Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, autoimmune disease, is the most crippling form of arthritis and affects approximately 2.1 million Americans.

Rotator Cuff Injury

An injury to the rotator cuff, such as a tear, may happen suddenly when falling on an outstretched hand or develop over time due to repetitive activities.

Sciatica

Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh.

Scoliosis

A spine affected by scoliosis shows evidence of a lateral, or sideways, curvature, and a rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are pains at the front of the lower legs caused by exercise, often after a period of inactivity.

Shoulder Dislocation

Dislocation of the shoulder means the displacement of the upper arm bone (humerus) out of the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Pain and Problems

Common shoulder problems include the following: dislocation, separation, bursitis, impingement syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff tear, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), and fracture.

Shoulder Tendonitis

Tendonitis of the shoulder is an inflammation of the rotator cuff and/or biceps tendon.

Soft-Tissue Injuries

Many activities can lead to soft-tissue damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Sprains and Strains

The majority of sports injuries are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons, including contusions (bruises), sprains and strains.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)

Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE, or simply lupus, involves periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to the joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys and skin.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and/or the nerves associated with chronic facial pain.

Tendonitis

Two major problems associated with tendons include tendonitis and tenosynovitis.

Torn Meniscus

Meniscus tears can occur during a rotating movement while bearing weight, such as when twisting the upper leg while the foot stays in one place during sports and other activities.

Torticollis (Wryneck)

Torticollis, also known as wryneck, is a twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate and tilt at an odd angle.

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Patients, doctors say vertebroplasty works

Recent studies have challenged the effectiveness of a popular kind of back surgery, yet many patients, and their doctors, say vertebroplasty works

Studies question using cement for spine injuries

Two new studies cast serious doubt on a widely used and expensive treatment for painful fractures in the spine.

Thrall: Healthcare IT can help rads tackle radiation exposure

It's imperative that radiologists proactively find ways to keep radiation dose to a minimum, and healthcare IT can help, according to Dr. James H. Thrall, who spoke on the topic this week at the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium.

Images of Imaging: CT (computed tomography)

Get an inside look at CT exams at Mass General Imaging. Learn about CT technology, the professionals who guide patients through the exam process, and the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Images of Imaging: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Learn about MRI exams at Mass General Imaging. See what MRI scanners and images look like, understand MRI safety, and learn about the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Webster Center takes on radiation-dose reduction

Dr. James H. Thrall, Department of Radiology chairman emeritus, discusses The Webster Center for Advanced Research and Education in Radiation, a unique research effort dedicated to reducing radiation dose for every exam Mass General Imaging performs.

Radiation reduction: Our ongoing commitment

As CT (computed tomography) technology has transformed the practice of medicine, Mass General Imaging has dedicated itself to making sure each exam exposes the patient to the lowest achievable amount of radiation. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, discusses our decade-long commitment—and our success—regarding this issue.

Decision tools support radiation-reduction efforts

One effective way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid unnecessary exams. That's why Mass General Imaging has been a leader in developing software tools that guide referring physicians by not only making sure the selected exam matches the patient's needs but also suggesting radiation-free alternatives when appropriate.

Imaging specialists, focused on you

Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.

Imaging technology enables non-surgical treatments

Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how the ability to see deep inside the body has driven the development of minimally invasive methods of treatment—a trend in which Mass General Imaging has played a key role.

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Discover the Imaging patient experience

Mass General offers specialty-trained radiologists, leading-edge technology and a caring staff that's committed to patient safety and comfort.

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Explore our convenient locations

Mass General Imaging's locations across Massachusetts offer easy access, and every exam is read by a specialty-trained Mass General radiologist.