Every course of treatment must begin with an accurate diagnosis, and UR Medicine Bone Health has all of the most advanced diagnostic tools available.
First, we perform a full physical examination, and we take a detailed medical history. We ask you to describe the symptoms you've had to date, and we may ask about additional symptoms that you may not realize are connected to the possibility of bone disease. It's important that we know about any injuries, illnesses, or pain you have had, and any medications you have been taking.
Once we have a complete picture of your symptoms and your current health, our doctors will order imaging and other tests to find the cause. The tests your doctor uses will be based on the possible illness or condition your symptoms may indicate. You will only have the tests that are appropriate for that condition.
We use the most up-to-date diagnostic procedures to develop a complete understanding of your condition, its causes, and the path we will take to help you.
Bone Biopsy: Using a local anesthetic and a needle, we remove a tiny amount of bone to examine under a microscope. This will tell us if you have cancer or any other kind of abnormal cell. In some cases, we will make a small incision to see a tumor, so that we can get a tissue sample from exactly the right area.
Bone Histomorphometry: Once we have take the biopsy, we can study the structure of your bone tissue using a microscope and computer analysis. This procedure is used to determine if you have a complex metabolic bone disorder. Using histomorphometry, we can see the rate at which your bones "turn over," or grow new bone cells to replace old ones. We can also see if your bones are eroding, and if your cells are working to form and reabsorb bone properly.
Bone Marrow Biopsy: Using a numbing anesthetic, we insert a needle to remove a tiny sample of the marrow from the inside of one of your bones. This marrow will be examined to see if you have bone cancer or one of several other bone disorders.
Computer Tomography Scan (CT or CAT): This imaging process combines x-rays and a computer to produce horizontal images of the entire body. Using a CT scan, we can see bones, muscles, organs, and any other part of the body we need to examine closely.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Using magnetic energy and radiofrequencies, the MRI can provide images of the bones, joints, and soft tissue in much more detail than an x-ray. This imaging procedure can tell us the exact location of tumors and other abnormalities in your bones.
Potassium Level Test: By checking the amount of potassium in your blood, we can determine if you have any indication of kidney disease, a condition that can affect your bones. A high or low potassium level can indicate a number of other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, whether or not these are related to your bone health.
Radionuclide Bone Scan: We inject a small amount of a radioactive material called Technetium-99, which will be absorbed into any bone tumor or by other abnormal cells. We then use a special camera to see into where the material has been absorbed, and we take pictures of this area using a computer. This test tells us exactly where the bone tumors are.
Serum Calcium Test: This test checks for problems with kidneys, parathyroid glands, pancreas, and other kinds of problems that can affect your bones. A high calcium level can cause bone pain, giving your doctor a clue to a more specific diagnosis.
Testosterone Levels in Men: Men's bodies convert the hormone testosterone to estrogen, another hormone that helps build bone mass. Low testosterone levels in men can be a signal that they may develop osteoporosis—a condition that affects about 2 million men in America today.
X-rays: An x-ray can show your doctor what changes are taking place in your bones, including fractures and masses that have grown where healthy bone should be. These can help pinpoint an area for further examination and testing.