Diagnostic Procedures at Parker Foot & Ankle

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Foot ultrasoundDiagnostic procedures and tools are utilized by our office to examine and diagnose internal issues with the human body. Not all symptoms are visible on the surface of the skin. CT scans, ultrasounds, x-rays, and MRIs provide valuable information on the source and severity of a foot or ankle condition. Once these diagnostics are complete, Dr. Robert Parker can prescribe the most beneficial treatment options available to patients. Dr. Parker is Houston’s High Tech Podiatrist, using the most sophisticated technology to diagnose and treat your foot conditions.

Computed Tomography

Computed Tomography examinations are commonly referred to as CT or CAT scans. These device take several lateral x-ray images that when used together provide the doctor with a three dimensional image.

The X-ray is taken by rotating the source of the images around the area being scanned. Ten to fifty of these rotations may be made for a single scan. The beam of X-rays being produced can be anywhere from 1-10 millimeters in width. The patient may be injected with an isotope that increases the ability of the machine to recognize irradiated tissues. CT scans can be especially dangerous for pregnant women as the radiation can be harmful to the unborn child.

These scans are often taken in order to diagnose injuries and conditions such as:

Ultrasound

For problems with soft tissues in the feet and ankles, ultrasound is an effective diagnostic tool that is done in-office. Also known as sonogram technology, it bounces sound waves back and forth like the common radar which creates images of organs and tissues inside the body. A water based gel is applied to the surface of the skin to bolster the conduction of sound waves. A hand held probe is placed against the surface of the skin to examine the area. Ultrasound is one of the safest diagnostic tools and is radiation and pain-free.

X-Rays

X-rays are generally utilized to view damage dealt to a bone and are also done right here in our office. They use electromagnetic radiation to diagnose fractures, infections, and arthritis. X-rays may also be taken in order to evaluate whether or not bones are growing properly. This tool is not recommended for pregnant women as the radiation can harm the unborn child. As with CT scans, the body needs to be kept still during the test to prevent blurry imaging. To obtain the clearest images, all jewelry and metal objects need to be removed from the person. 

MRI

As opposed to X-rays and CT scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans use no radiation. MRIs are particularly good at displaying the soft tissues and bones of the feet. The largest benefit of this diagnostic tool is that it creates three dimensional images that can be viewed from multiple angles. It does this by aligning the water molecules in your body and taking images of the signals given off as radio waves pulse through them. MRIs are used to diagnose arthritis, fractures, infections, soft tissue damage, and tumors. As MRIs use magnets, they are generally unsafe for those with pacemakers, artificial heart valves, electronic implants and pumps, surgical clips, or metal fragments in the eyes. An MRI will usually last less than an hour an also requires the body to be kept still during the examination. In some circumstances, the patient can be sedated for the duration of the test.

Blood Panels

Blood panels, also known as hemograms, are an accurate diagnostic tool for measuring a person’s overall health. Once the blood is drawn from a patient, it is placed into an automated analyzing machine. This machine will be able to discern the amount of white to red blood cells, as well as any abnormalities in the sample. Blood panels are exceptionally good indicators of infection and blood diseases.

PSSD

One of the greatest benefits of the PSSD (Pressure Specified Sensory Device) is that it is pain free. The PSSD is used to identify nerve threshold levels and densities. This diagnostic tool is particularly adept at identifying the different causes for nerve damage. These causes are usually: compression, injury, and neuropathy. The test can also measure the degradation or regeneration of a nerve following surgery. During the examination, you will be seated in a chair and the physician will move a small device that has two rounded probes over the skin being tested. There are no side effects or risk to physical injury during this procedure.

NCV / EMG

NVC (Nerve Conduction Velocity) and EMG (Electromyography) are electro-diagnostic testing tools utilized for the purpose of examining nerves and muscle functions. Using data collected, Dr. Robert Parker can determine if there is any nerve damage and which treatments best suit your condition. NCV testing involves the stimulation of nerve endings at various places on the body. This activates nerve impulses so that they can be properly measured. The next part of an EMG involves the insertion very thin needles into muscle tissues. This electrode will sense and record all electronic signals running through the tissue. These tests are usually completed within 30-90 minutes. The only common side-effect to this test is muscle soreness that fades within a few hours.

Diagnostic tools and procedures are an invaluable part of podiatry. Our office is fully equipped with the latest technology offering you the best in care and convenience. Contact Parker Foot and Ankle today at 281-497-2850. You can also schedule an appointment with our Houston office online.