Musculoskeletal Radiology for Medical Students

Musculoskeletal imaging is one of the oldest subspecialties within radiology, and also one of the areas most affected by newer imaging technologies. MSK radiologists utilize radiographs to assess the skeletal system, commonly assessing the bones for traumatic injuries, neoplasms, infections, rheumatologic disorders, and congenital abnormalities. Ultrasound is used within this subspecialty to assess muscles and tendons, while MRI has become indispensable in assessing the fine details of the joints of the body. MSK radiologists also specialize in multiple procedures such as joint injections and aspirations, bone biopsies, and percutaneous treatment of some osseous tumors.

Goals and objectives

  • Identify and name the major parts of the following bones on radiograph: Humerus, radius, ulna, carpal bones, metacarpals and phalanges, femur, fibula, tibia, tarsal bones, calcaneus, metatarsals, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis, clavicles and scapulae
  • Differentiate between the metaphysis, diaphysis, and epiphysis of a long bone on x-ray
  • Use proper terminology when describing a fracture
  • Explain the significance of intra-articular extension or physeal involvement of a fracture
  • Recognize a non-displaced fracture on x-ray.
  • Explain the importance of multiple x-ray views in fracture diagnosis.
  • Identify an elbow joint effusion on x-ray
  • Differentiate between anterior and posterior dislocation of the shoulder on radiograph.
  • What are the 4 major mechanisms of injury to the pelvis?
  • Discriminate between the general types of soft tissue & osseous injuries best evaluated by CT or MR
  • Construct the appropriate imaging approach for common diagnostic scenarios including: chronic joint pain or suspected arthritis, chronic back pain, acute back pain, trauma, neck trauma, occult hip fracture, suspected osteomyelitis, screening for metastatic disease