Radiology at the Orthopaedic Institute

Request appointment
(415) 353-2573

UCSF Radiology at the Orthopaedic Institute provides musculoskeletal imaging tests, such as MRI and bone mineral density measurements, as well as image-guided procedures for treating osteoarthritis. We also offer the convenience of same-day X-ray services when you come to the institute for your orthopedic appointment.

The close collaboration between our orthopedic surgery and diagnostic radiology teams translates to better care for patients. Our dedicated radiologists and technologists have particular expertise from many years of working with orthopedic patients.

Continue reading

Our Services

The innovative techniques and technologies available at the Orthopaedic Institute include:

  • High-field, high-resolution MRI operating at 3 Tesla used for joint and spine disorders, bone and soft tissue disorders, and rheumatologic diseases. High-resolution MRI at 3 Tesla (the highest-strength magnetic field available for medical practice) allows better detection of abnormalities than standard MRI.
  • MR arthrography for better evaluation of shoulder, wrist, elbow and hip joints to find the cause of pain and limited function. This technique (in which we inject the joint with a material that enhances imaging) improves analysis of cartilage.
  • MRI techniques to analyze cartilage quality before cartilage is lost, which allows us to assess the risk for osteoarthritis.
  • Metal-suppression techniques that allow us to use MRI with patients who have joint replacements, implants and other hardware.
  • MR technologies to suppress motion in patients with pain or claustrophobia, allowing us to obtain better-quality images.
  • Joint injection for osteoarthritis pain treatment including local anesthetics, corticosteroids and viscosupplements such as hyaluronate and Synvisc (materials similar to joints’ natural lubrication fluid).
  • Bone mineral density measurements using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
  • Tomosynthesis (a technique that allows precise evaluation without increased radiation) for better detection of fractures and fracture healing.

MRI and Claustrophobia

While open scanners are helpful for patients with claustrophobia, their image quality is generally worse than that produced by our 3 Tesla scanner. Poor image quality may limit what we can learn from the images.

Keep in mind that:

  • Our MRI is shorter, wider and better lit as compared to other MRI machines.
  • Our staff understands claustrophobia.
  • Imaging of the lower extremities – foot, knee and leg exams – do not require entering the tube completely. Only the leg is in the tube.
  • Imaging of the shoulders or spine requires entering the tube, and sedation should be considered. After receiving a sedative, you should not drive a car or operate machinery.
  • Our motion-correction imaging allows for shorter exam times and less time spent in the scanner.

Doctor referral required

Our locations

Expand Map

    Decorative Caduceus

    A Phase IV Post Approval Clinical Study of ExAblate Treatment of Metastatic Bone Tumors for the...

    The statistical hypothesis is that the proportion of responders will be significantly greater than the proportion of subjects experiencing pain progression (worsened pain or increased pain medications usage) by at least 30% or an ...


    Decorative Caduceus

    Focused Ultrasound to Promote Immune Responses for Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma

    Patients will be followed for any reported adverse events following Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) version 5.0 and evaluated on incidence and...


    Decorative Caduceus

    Comparative Effectiveness of MRgFUS Versus CTgRFA for Osteoid Osteomas

    1 month after treatment, worst VAS score over the last 24 hours will be assessed


    Support services

    Patient Resource

    Case Management & Social Work

    Connect with a team that can help you find resources, solve problems and advocate for you during treatment at UCSF.


    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class

    This eight-week class teaches mindfulness practices that can reduce stress and improve your overall health, such as meditation and body awareness.

    Patient Resource

    Patient Relations

    We welcome feedback about your experience at UCSF Health. Find out how to contact us with comments, questions or concerns.

    Patient Resource

    Spiritual Care Services

    Chaplains representing many faiths are available around the clock to provide support, comfort and counsel to patients, families and caregivers.

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • List of your medications, including dosages
    • Written request form for the procedure, if your doctor gave you one
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    International Services

    If you live outside the United States and are coming to UCSF for medical treatment, our patient liaisons can help coordinate all aspects of your visit.

    Learn more

    Interpreting Services

    UCSF offers interpreters in various languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), as well as services for deaf, hard-of-hearing and visually impaired patients.

    Learn more

    Hospital Stays

    Checking into the hospital? Find helpful information by clicking on the relevant “Your Hospital Stay” booklet: Mission Bay, Parnassus or Mount

    Learn more

    Your Doctor Visit

    See our top 10 tips for making your UCSF doctor’s appointment as stress-free and productive as possible.

    Learn more

    Related clinics

    Radiology at China Basin

    185 Berry St., Lobby 6, Suite 180 and 190
    San Francisco, CA 94107

    Radiology at Divisadero St.

    1600 Divisadero St., Room A-142 and A-219
    San Francisco, CA 94115

    Radiology at Mission Bay

    1975 Fourth St., First Floor, C1422
    San Francisco, CA 94158

    Radiology at Parnassus – Main Hospital

    505 Parnassus Ave., Third Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94143

    Radiology at Post Street

    2330 Post St., Room 100
    San Francisco, CA 94115

    Radiology at Parnassus – Medical Building 1

    400 Parnassus Ave.
    San Francisco, CA 94143

    Radiology at the Women's Health Center

    2356 Sutter St., Room J-146 and J-226
    San Francisco, CA 94115

    Imaging Center at Montgomery Street

    1725 Montgomery St., Suite 250
    San Francisco, CA 94111

    Our research initiatives

    • UCSF-Department-of-Radiology-and-Biomedical-Imaging-Research-2x

      UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research

      The UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging is home to many state-of-the-art research labs, all working to use imaging technologies to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

    Can't find what you're looking for?

    UCSF Help Center

    (888) 689-8273