The table below provides a quick aide for selecting the appropriate imaging modality for your musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging project. For optimal results, consultation with the Imaging Core Director or Associate Director is highly recommended.
- MRI = Magnetic Resonance Imaging
CT = Computed Tomography (includes micro-CT)
US = Ultrasound
PET = Positron Emission Tomography
Optical = Bioluminescence, Fluorescence, and Near-Infrared (NIR) Imaging
- All modalities can generate 2D images, but not all can generate 3D tomographic data.
- All modalities can generate image data that can be used both for qualitative assessment and for quantitative measurements, however quantitative analysis may require additional calibration methods.
- All modalities can be used for both in vivo and ex vivo image acquisition, however in vivo acquisition places additional constraints on the capabilities of each.
- Soft tissues = muscle, cartilage, tendon, disc, skin.
- Calcified tissues = bone.
- Molecular imaging refers to the use of exogenous agents and/or intrinsic biochemistry to generate image contrast that is directly related to processes occurring at the molecular level. Examples: T1-rho, Sodium-23, and CEST MRI.
- Spatial resolution is highly dependent on the specifics of the object being imaged, but generally can range from a few microns to a few millimeters.