Our main purpose is to provide as early a diagnosis of rheumatic diseases as possible. Early diagnosis is important to avoid joint damage and to produce better outcomes. To that end, we have a variety of tools in our center to facilitate early diagnosis of several common diseases.
Our infusion nurses administer the medicine in a timely manner, and at a lower cost than hospital-based infusions.
We also have easy parking access and a comfortable atmosphere.
Our MRI is a small, open unit that is dedicated to extremity areas only. Patients sit on a chair-like table during the imaging. The image quality is similar to those obtained from larger units. Our technician has extensive experience, with over 100 studies performed. Our studies are read by a board-certified, musculoskeletal radiologist out of Florida.
MRI’s can detect joint damage as early as 4 months after the onset of symptoms, whereas X-rays can take 6 months to detect changes. The sensitivity for erosions is 95% for MRI’s, and only 65% for X-rays. MRI’s can also reveal bone edema, a precursor of damage and synovitis, which has been described as an independent factor for the progression of disease. No one in the area offer this technique as inexpensively and as accurately as our center.
We have incorporated digital technology into our X-ray services, allowing for computerized additional views for better diagnostic outcomes.
DXA and VFA
Dr. Massey initially trained at the Duke Metabolic Center, which is one of the top 5 in the nation for the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Accordingly, our center has used the DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) technique since 2000. We were also the first in the area to acquire the VFA, or Vertebral Fracture Assessment, technique.
Diagnostic X-rays of the spine can miss up to 30% of vertebral fractures; the VFA technique is an easy, inexpensive way to further evaluate patients who could potentially have these fractures, and could therefore help prevent future fractures.
Sonogram for Joint Evaluation
Our center incorporated this technique in 2003 to improve treatment in certain areas, such as rotator cuff pathology. This technique also improves visualization of difficult to inject areas, such as tendons, bursae, and hip joints.
Neurometrix is a nerve conduction velocity test that uses biosensors (instead of needles) to test nerve conduction in areas prone for entrapment. We use this technique primarily for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of some common conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.
Our staff is trained to perform venipuncture. These tests are processed by LabCorp and the results are electronically sent to the patients’ charts through a computerized interface.
6 Minute Walk & Oxygen Saturation Evaluation
For six minutes, patients walk in a measured area of the office while oxygen saturation is evaluated. This is performed for patients with pulmonary hypertension related to their connective tissue disease.
In the past, our center has collaborated with UAB for rheumatology studies. We have performed clinical trials in the area of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. We are currently not performing trials, but it is a goal of our center to participate in the future. Dr. Massey has participated in over 30 clinical studies.
Dr. Massey is part of the UAB Montgomery Internal Medicine Program as an Instructor of Medicine in Rheumatology. Second and third year residents undergo their clinical rheumatology rotations at EAAC. In addition to the rotations, Dr. Massey teaches classes on various rheumatologic topics for the residents.