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Bones and Joints Radiology in Los Angeles

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Centinela Radiology provides diagnostic imaging and interventions in Los Angeles, CA for bones and joints. Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest technology for the most accurate diagnosis.



Sprains and fractures are common injuries. Trauma, car accidents, sports injuries, and falls are responsible for most fractures, dislocations, and sprains. Patients with weak or diseased bones are also prone to fractures.

Imaging is used to visualize the fracture, sprain, or dislocation. Centinela Radiology performs digital X-rays, CT, and MRI to pinpoint the injury.


Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. Delicate bones such as those in the hands, wrist, feet are commonly affected. Repetitive force, overuse injuries, bone aging, and sports are responsible for most hairline fractures. Mild pain or mobility issues are common. However, symptoms may be absent. Diagnostic imaging at Centinela Radiology pinpoints the exact location of stress fractures.


Spinal fractures are painful. The most common causes include car accidents, a high fall, or sports injuries. Pathologic fractures can also occur due to osteoporosis or certain cancers. A vertebral compression fracture occurs when the vertebral body collapses. Fractures are most common in the thoracic and lumbar spine. Sudden back pain, deformity, and height loss are possible signs of a vertebral fracture. Other symptoms include difficulty walking or twisting.


Scoliosis, spinal deformities, skeletal dysplasia, uneven limbs, club foot, flat feet, tibial torsion, curved feet, bow legs are all skeletal abnormalities. Most start in early childhood and progressively worsen if left untreated. Consequences include serious health and mobility issues. Centinela Radiology provides diagnostic imaging to detect bone defects in children and adults.


Arthritis-related joint problems are painful and disabling. Patients with arthritis are also susceptible to fractures, commonly affecting the hips, wrist, and spine. Stiff joints, joint pain, swollen joints, and reduced mobility are common symptoms. Early detection is a must to slow the progression of arthritis. Untreated arthritis gets worse with time. Diagnostic imaging at Centinela Radiology creates a clear picture of what is going on inside the damaged joint or bone. Digital X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are available. If a patient has any of the above conditions, a primary doctor may order medical imaging at Centinela Radiology.



X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to view the bones, joints, or other structures in the body.

Procedure: The injured body part is placed between the source of radiation and the X-ray detector. A special shield protects other parts of the body from radiation. An X-ray technician stands behind a curtain or exits the room. The X-ray source is turned on. In some cases, a special dye is administered by IV before the procedure. X-rays are painless, but the patient must remain very still during the procedure.


Computed tomography uses X-rays to show a detailed image of bones and joints. A special rotating X-ray machine takes snapshots of the injury from several angles. Each X-ray snapshot creates an image slice. A computer compiles the image slices so the injury can be viewed from all angles. A CT scan is helpful for complex bone and joint injuries that cannot be adequately viewed with a basic two-dimensional X-ray.

Procedure: The patient lies down in a large machine, similar to a tunnel. The inside of the machine rotates and X-rays are taken from different angles. A special dye may be injected before the procedure to make viewing the results easier. Imaging takes approximately one hour. There is no pain, but the patient must lie very still during the procedure.


An MRI uses a complex system of magnets, radio waves, and a computer to detect many conditions, including bone and joint defects.

Procedure: An MRI usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. The patient lies inside a tunnel-like machine that is open on both ends. Multiple images of the injury are taken using a combination of magnets and radio waves. An MRI is not painful but may be uncomfortable due to mechanical noises and restrictions on movement. A special dye may be injected before the procedure.

Spine Procedures


If conservative treatments do not correct pain associated with a vertebral fracture, vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty may be performed at Centinela Radiology. These minimally invasive procedures work by injecting cement into the fractured vertebrae. Both methods have an estimated success rate of more than 90%.

Vertebroplasty procedure

While the patient is partially sedated, an interventional radiologist guides a needle into the vertebrae. A slight pinch is felt as the needle is inserted. A local anesthetic may be used to reduce injection site pain. An interventional radiologist passes a needle through the skin and into the vertebrae. The needle is guided with X-ray imaging. Cement is injected to fill and stabilize the affected vertebrae. The needle is withdrawn. A bandage is placed on the skin.

Kyphoplasty procedure

The patient is fully or partially sedated before the procedure. A slight pinch is felt as the needle is inserted. A local anesthetic may be used to ease discomfort. An interventional radiologist passes a needle through the skin and into the vertebrae. The needle is guided with X-ray imaging. Balloons are inflated to create a space inside the affected vertebrae, followed by cement injection. The cement stabilizes the affected vertebrae. The needle is withdrawn. A bandage is placed on the skin.

What to expect after treatment

The patient is observed in a recovery room for several hours. It takes one to two hours for the cement to harden. Most patients return home the same day. Some may spend one night in the hospital. It is important to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for at least six weeks after the treatment.


This procedure can be done for diagnosis or treatment. The interventional radiologist will review your imaging and locate the best vertebral level for the procedure. Local anesthesia will be given to ease discomfort. A needle is then inserted using image guidance into the spinal column and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is removed. A sample can be sent to the lab for diagnosis of infection, inflammation, and cancer. The CSF pressure can be also measured.


A myelogram is a diagnostic procedure to identify issues in the spine. Your radiologist will administer a contrast dye so that the spinal cord, nerves, and spinal lining (meninges) can be seen easier. This allows for proper diagnosis of a number of spinal issues, particularly in post-surgical situations and in the case of disc abnormalities in patients who cannot go through an MRI. Myelograms are useful diagnostic tools because radiologists can take still pictures as well as see what is happening to the spine in real time.


A discogram is similar to a myelogram in that it is a spinal diagnostic procedure that uses contrast to let your doctors see what is happening within the spine. A discogram focuses specifically on the discs of the spine. The contrast goes into the center of one or more of the spinal discs, allowing radiologists to observe and measure the movement of the discs in the spine and identify abnormalities.


Sometimes, spinal discs can become infected, which is a serious condition. Disc aspiration is a minimally invasive procedure that removes a small culture from the suspect disc to analyze it for infection. This procedure can also drain pus from the disc if deemed necessary.


A vertebral biopsy (also known as a spinal cord biopsy) is a minimally invasive test where a small piece of bone is removed from the spine so it can be tested. Vertebral biopsies are often used to detect infections, cancers, and other issues of the spine that can’t be seen in other ways.

Joint Procedures


Joint injections allow the doctors at Centinela Radiology to deliver pain-relieving anesthetic or steroid injections directly to the painful joint or stiff joint. Joint injections can often reduce pain and help in the healing and preservation of your range of motion.


An MR Arthrogram is very similar to a joint injection, only with injection of the MR contrast dye into the joint prior to an MRI examination. This allows the radiologists at Centinela to make more accurate diagnosis of issues within the joint. Tears and other soft tissue damage are often easier to spot in an MR Arthrogram as opposed to a routine MRI.


A bone biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure where doctors remove a small portion of bone. The specimen is then sent to the laboratory for analysis and diagnosis of issues including infection or cancer.


Ultrasound-guided tendon sheath injections allow the best pinpoint accuracy when guiding medication to the tendon sheath. By using ultrasound technology, the doctors can track the movement of the needle in real time, making sure the steroids or anti-inflammatory medicines are applied to the exact spots in the body where they do the most good; such as an inflamed tendon.


Why are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty used?

Percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures that inject cement into weakened or fractured vertebra.

Are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty procedures safe?

These are low-risk procedures. Complications affect less than 3% of patients. There is a small risk of bleeding or infection, as with any surgery. Rarely, cement leaks can reach the spinal canal, disc spaces, or nearby veins or nerves. Centinela Radiology advises the patient of risks before undergoing the procedure.

How long does it take to see results?

Back pain relief begins shortly after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. Pain relief can take up to 72 hours.

What is the cement made of?

The cement material used for kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty is made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

How is a vertebral fracture diagnosed?

A primary doctor performs a physical examination of the spine. If a vertebral fracture is suspected, an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be ordered.

What are the symptoms of a vertebral fracture?

Vertebral compression symptoms include sudden onset of back pain, difficulty ambulating, and loss of height. Standing or walking may worsen the pain. If a recent traumatic injury has occurred, this is the likely cause.

Who is most likely to develop vertebral fractures?

Women over the age of 45 with back pain and history of osteoporosis are at highest risk. Men and women with acute back pain and a history of trauma should be evaluated. If a man over the age of 50 has a sudden onset of back pain, a compression fracture should be considered. Women over the age of 45 with sudden back pain should be evaluated. If a patient has been diagnosed with osteoporosis and presents with back pain, it is wise to investigate for a possible spinal fracture.

Are all vertebral fractures painful?

Not always. While sudden back pain and painful walking are common, these symptoms are not always present. Height loss, difficulty twisting or bending, and visible spinal deformities may indicate a fracture. Older patients, especially those who have osteoporosis and these symptoms should see a primary physician for evaluation.

Why must a vertebral fracture be treated?

A spinal fracture is a serious orthopedic injury. A spinal fracture may cause bone fragments to compress or damage spinal nerves. Pain, deformity, and mobility issues can occur in some patients.

Schedule an appointment today to experience why Centinela Radiology is the choice for diagnostic imaging solutions for patients around the country who need the right answers, right away.

Centinela Radiology’s expert team of doctors and staff have the talent and the tools to help make sense of your health. From diagnostic imaging to interventional radiology, our minimally-invasive procedures get to the core of your concerns, so we can get you back to being the image of health.