Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital
a department of Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center


Specialized diagnostic tests for orthopedic conditions

If you’re suffering from an orthopedic condition, you want expert care from professionals trained in orthopedics. Expert care begins with an expert diagnosis, and for that your orthopedist needs sophisticated, specialized diagnostic imaging.

For more information about diagnostic exams, please call


Most diagnostic exams require a referral from your physician. Find a doctor near you with our online physician directory.

Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital provides you and your physician with full-service imaging targeting musculoskeletal problems. Our diagnostic tests include:

  • Arthrogram - Arthrography is the X-ray of a joint that uses fluoroscopy and a liquid contrast medium to look for problems in your joints.

  • Bone scans - Bone densitometry, also known as dual-energy X-ray absorption (DEXA), is a painless test to help your doctor determine how healthy your bones are.

  • CT scan - A computerized tomography (CT) scan creates cross-sectional images (“slices”) that reveal your bones and organs with a high degree of precision.

  • Discogram - A discogram uses X-rays and special dye injected into your spinal disks to help determine if back pain could be caused by an abnormal disk in your spine.

  • Electromyography (EMG) - EMG checks the health of your muscles and the nerves that control them. Your physician may recommend EMG if you’ve had muscle weakness. The test can help to pinpoint the exact cause of the weakness. To perform the test, our technologist will insert a very thin needle electrode through the skin into the muscle, and you may be asked to contract the muscle. A nerve conduction study (see below) is usually performed along with EMG.

  • Nerve conduction studies - A nerve conduction study tests how fast electrical signals move through your nerves. It is used to diagnose nerve damage, and it can be used to evaluate possible diseases of your nerves or muscle. If your physician refers you for this test, we place electrode patches on your skin to stimulate certain nerves and record the speed of resulting nerve impulses.

  • Myelogram - A myelogram uses X-rays and a special dye injected into your back to look at your spinal canal and surrounding nerves. Tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant, and discuss possible allergies to the dye. After the procedure, you should report any side effects to your radiologist immediately.

  • Nerve root block - A nerve block is an injection intended to block a pain signal coming from a specific location in your body or to decrease inflammation in that area.

  • Nuclear medicine - Nuclear medicine allows our doctors to use a small amount of radioactive material, either ingested or injected into your body, to examine your organs and diagnose a variety of diseases and disorders.

  • Ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound - Ultrasound is a safe and effective diagnostic tool using reflected sound waves to examine many different parts of your body. Doppler technology measures the speed and direction of blood flow through your blood vessels, to look for clots or blockage, narrowing that may be caused by plaque, and tumors or other malformations of the blood vessel.

  • X-rays - X-ray exams use small doses of radiation to produce pictures that help diagnose tumors or bone injuries.

  • Fluoroscopy and 3D fluoroscopy - Fluoroscopy uses real-time X-rays along with a contrast medium (dye) to evaluate many bodily functions. At Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, we use it to evaluate the condition of your joints, examine fractures, and assist with joint replacement surgery. We also have a state-of-the-art 3D fluoroscopy room specifically designed for evaluating orthopedic conditions. You’ll be more comfortable during the test, and we can see how your joints look when actually bearing weight. 3D fluoroscopy can also be used for myelograms (see above).

  • MRI - Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to create detailed images of the organs and structures inside of the body.

Physician referral - Most diagnostic exams require a referral from your physician. For more information, please call . To find a doctor near you, please review our online directory or call 888-976-5611.