If you have been injured in a car accident or at work, many different kinds of diagnostic tests may be required to determine the extent of your injuries. The type of test required will depend on the injuries you have. These tests will help give your doctor the full picture of your injuries, whether broken bones or other soft tissue injuries, which can include muscle, tendon, ligament, and even organ damage. Below is a list of some of the most common diagnostic tests for those seeking treatment for workers comp or auto accident cases.
An X-ray is a quick, painless test commonly used to see if you have internal damage, particularly damage to your bones. X-ray beams pass through your body with dense materials, like bones showing as white on the X-rays. For some types of X-ray tests, a contrast medium like iodine or barium is also used to provide greater detail and contrast on the images.
A computerized tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan takes the data from many X-rays and produces a detailed image of structures inside the body. Unlike X-rays, CT scans produce 2-dimensional images of a “slice” or section of the body. It can also construct 3-dimensional images. Contrast dye is also used sometimes to help show specific internal structures more clearly.
A diagnostic ultrasound is a type of imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of your body’s internal structures. Ultrasounds are used to help diagnose the causes of pain, swelling, and infection in the body’s internal organs. Ultrasound is safe, non-invasive, and does not use ionizing radiation like X-Rays or CT/CAT scans do.
An MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your body’s internal structures. MRIs provide highly detailed views, are non-invasive, and require little preparation. Because they use strong magnetic fields, you may not be able to have an MRI if you have any metal or medical devices inside your body. As with other types of diagnostic tests, you may need to have an injection of intravenous contrast liquid to improve the visibility of the area being scanned.
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure to assess the damage within muscles and the nerves that control them. EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction, or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission. EMG tests can be done with a needle electrode inserted directly into a muscle or by using electrode stickers applied to the skin depending on the injury.
Vestibular testing is a type of test that can evaluate hearing function and balance. This test is designed o determine if there is damage to the vestibular portion of the inner ear, which controls balance. This test can determine if dizziness, vertigo, or balance issues are caused by a problem in the inner ear or something else.
These are some of the more common types of diagnostic testing. Having these tests completed will not only help your doctor diagnose your injury but are also an essential part of the documentation required in workers comp and auto accident cases.
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