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July 18, 1980

Computerized Tomography of the Musculoskeletal System

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse.

JAMA. 1980;244(3):278-280. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030052033

THE VALUE of computerized tomography (CT) in evaluating cranial, thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic abnormalities is well accepted.1 The use of CT in diagnosing disorders of the musculoskeletal system is similar to its application to other regions of the body. In those anatomic areas where muscles and neurovascular structures are relatively large, CT provides an accurate tool in assessing anteroposterior relationships. The availability of the opposite extremity to serve as a control is an added advantage. The axial plane is particularly useful in assessing orthopedic disorders of the hip, thigh, shoulder, and sternoclavicular joint. Around joints, where a curving plane may not be optimally visualized on either the anteroposterior or lateral roentgenogram, the axial projection is particularly valuable.2 Although plain roentgenograms provide better bony detail than CT, the medullary space is better seen with CT. Computerized tomography is more sensitive to small differences in x-ray absorption than conventional films.