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PHT 721 Diagnostic Imaging I

Evaluate the integration of medical imaging equipment into physical therapy practice.

Format: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Credits: 2

In your physical therapy practice, the use of medical imaging equipment and procedures are valuable tools. In PHT 721, Diagnostic Imaging I, you’ll explore the benefits of integrating this technology to help with the examination, evaluation, and diagnosis of neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions.

Course Description

The field of radiology has evolved since its inception over a century ago. You’ll gain an appreciation for the history of the field, and how medical imaging can give you a more comprehensive understanding of your patients’ health. From interventional radiography and conventional radiography to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), diagnostic tools have different purposes and you’ll compare their clinical capabilities and limitations. In doing so, you’ll explore how diagnostic imaging is used to detect and evaluate fractures, their unique patterns, and healing progress.


Sample Assignment

You’ll research and write a substantive paper (6 to 8 pages) as a final project for this course. In this paper, you’ll focus on the radiological assessment of any of the neuromuscular pathologies that affect the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, or the spine.


The presence of stroke/cerebrovascular accident (CVA) may be diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging and/or computerized tomography. You’ll apply examples of Clinical Decision Rules (CDRs) and how they may be used in clinical decision-making for acute stroke. These rules also provide guidance for clinical decision-making for imaging and intervention of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Focusing on the three areas of the spine — cervical, dorsal, and lumbar — you’ll consider the clinical impact of using common imaging technologies and image-guided interventional procedures. You’ll gain experience in interpreting these images to detect indications of trauma, common injury patterns, degenerative disease processes, and anomalies of the various parts of the body.


When do you think physical therapists in the U.S. will have the right to obtain full access to imaging files and findings and have the right to refer to radiologists, similar to the rights of therapists in the military model?

Discuss this and more in PHT 721.


Course Topics

Throughout this course, you’ll focus on core topics or themes. Sample topics are listed below and are subject to change based on the instructor.

  • :: Vision of the Profession
  • :: Introduction to Diagnostic Imaging
  • :: Radiologic Evaluation of Fractures
  • :: Radiologic Evaluation of Stroke
  • :: Radiologic Evaluation of Cervical Spine
  • :: Radiologic Evaluation of Dorsal Spine
  • :: Radiologic Evaluation of Lumbar Spine

Learning Outcomes: Your Top 11 Takeaways

Throughout PHT 721, you’ll develop skills in the use of diagnostic imaging as a tool in your physical therapy practice.

  1. Analyze the clinical impact and validity of common imaging technologies and image-guided interventional procedures used in musculoskeletal and neurological imaging.
  2. Classify the radiologic evaluation of fractures and the unique patterns of fracture and fracture healing, especially in children.
  3. Categorize the radiologic evaluation, including pertinent radiologic observations, indications of trauma, common injury patterns, degenerative disease processes, and anomalies of the various regions of the body (e.g., cervical spine, thorax, lumbar spine).
  4. Integrate radiographic information with clinical presentation and therapeutic intervention.
  5. Investigate the pathways through which physical therapists may recommend diagnostic imaging and the issues surrounding physical therapists’ access to diagnostic imaging for their patients, to include the military model of PTs as primary care providers (PCP).
  6. Choose examples of Clinical Decision Rules (CDRs) and how they may be used in clinical decision-making (e.g. imaging and intervention).
  7. Apply medical-imaging information to physical therapy intervention planning.
  8. Distinguish the major roles of conventional radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and bone scintigraphy in clinical decision-making.
  9. Examine the role that core values/ethical behaviors and professional communication play in relation to conflict resolution, negotiation skills and networking.
  10. Illustrate the critical role of PT’s in the diagnostic imaging system through their correlation of clinical findings with imaging information.
  11. Use computer and/or telecommunication technology to gather and critically analyze information related to radiologic examination across the lifespan.

Learn More

You’ll gain an appreciation for the importance of radiologic imaging as a diagnostic tool in PHT 721. For more information about this course or other courses in Utica College’s online transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, request more information or call us at 315.732.2640 or toll-free 866.295.3106.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.