Diagnosis of Extremity Tumors


Imaging studies used for diagnosis of extremity tumors

      X-ray     An X-rays are used to look at bone details. Because our bones contain a large amount of calcium, the X-ray beam is absorbed by the bones and an image of the bone is produced.

Soft tissues don’t have much calcium so they don’t show up on x-ray in detail. An exception is lung tissue. The trapped air within the lungs does provide some detail of the lung but not as much as a CT scan.
  CT (“CAT”) scan A Computerized Axial Image or CT scan is a special X-ray that produces a cross-sectional image of a specific area of the body. Because these images are combined “slices” of the area, there is much more detail than a simple X-ray. CT scans are best for showing soft tissue and helping to evaluate if cancer has spread to other areas of the body such as the lungs or brain.

Soft tissues don’t have much calcium so they don’t show up on x-ray in detail. An exception is lung tissue. The trapped air within the lungs does provide some detail of the lung but not as much as a CT scan.
  PET scan A Positron Emission Tomography scan is a test that traces a radioactive substance as it moves throughout the body. The substance, called a tracer, is injected into a person’s bloodstream and as the tracer moves through the body it collects in areas where there is high metabolic activity such as internal organs, the brain, and tumors (which are cells that are growing at a rapid rate therefore have a high metabolic activity). The PET detects signals from the tracer substance and a computer program changes the signals into a picture. A radiologist (physician specializing in reading radiological exams) looks for area of abnormal activity.
  PET/CT in many cancer centers the PET scan is combined with the CT scan.
The PET/CT takes the capability of the PET scan to show high metabolic activity and of the CT to show soft tissue detail. This produces images that pinpoint the exact location of increased abnormal metabolic activity. MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a test that uses a very powerful magnetic field, and radio frequency pulses to take detailed pictures of soft tissues, bones and internal organs. The images that are produced allow physicians to see the extent of tumors – whether they have grown into (“invaded”) other structures or are localized to the original area. These images are extremely helpful to the surgeon when planning surgery to best address resection of an extremity tumor.

Soft tissues don’t have much calcium so they don’t show up on x-ray in detail. An exception is lung tissue. The trapped air within the lungs does provide some detail of the lung but not as much as a CT scan
  MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a test that uses a very powerful magnetic field, and radio frequency pulses to take detailed pictures of soft tissues, bones and internal organs. The images that are produced allow physicians to see the extent of tumors – whether they have grown into (“invaded”) other structures or are localized to the original area. These images are extremely helpful to the surgeon when planning surgery to best address resection of an extremity tumor.

Soft tissues don’t have much calcium so they don’t show up on x-ray in detail. An exception is lung tissue. The trapped air within the lungs does provide some detail of the lung but not as much as a CT scan.
  Bone scan A bone scan involves injection of a radioactive substance (tracer) through an IV. The tracer moves through the blood to the bones and other organs. In areas of the bone where there is high metabolic activity (a tumor for instance) more of the tracer will accumulate. A camera slowly scans the entire body and areas where more of the tracer detects are areas of bone disease. A bone scan can assist in the diagnosis of a bone tumor or for staging after someone has been diagnosed with a malignant extremity cancer.