Imaging Department


Summary of Services Provided

  • Back Pain Service
    • Percutaneous Vertebroplasty
    • Percutaneous Kyphoplasty
    • Percutaneous Discectomy
  • Shoulder Pain Service
  • Groin Pain Service
  • Peripheral Joint Injection
  • Whole Body Imaging
  • OSIC (Orthopaedic and Sports Imaging at Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital)

Back Pain Service:

The department of radiology offers the most sophisticated minimally invasive spinal intervention service, with the deployment of a new bi-plane fluro CT unit complimented by high tech imaging, with both a 1.5 tesla and 3 tesla MRI unit.

Using bi-plane CT fluoroscopy the department offers the following interventions for back pain:

  • Facet joint block
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Caudal epidural
  • Discography
  • Sacroiliac joint steroid Marcaine block
  • Percutaneous vertebroplasty
  • Percutaneous kyphoplasty
  • Percutaneous discectomy

Percutaneous Vertebroplasty:

The department of radiology offers percutaneous vertebroplasty with percutaneous PMMA cement injection as a therapeutic manoeuvre for reduction in patients with

1.   painful osteoporotic compression fractures
2.   painful spinal metastatic disease
3.   painful haemangiomata.

This procedure is performed as either a day case or overnight stay in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Percutaneous Kyphoplasty:

This procedure is offered for the treatment of

  1. painful osteoporotic compression fractures
  2. painful metastatic spinal disease
  3. painful haemangiomata

In contrast to vertebroplasty, this procedure employs a balloon to restore vertebral body height and create a cavity prior to injection of cement.  Although this procedure is less frequently performed than percutaneous vertebroplasty, it may have advantages in specific cases, allowing more controlled PMMA cement injection.

Percutaneous Discectomy:

This procedure is offered to patients with refractory disc disease with radicular symptoms.  The procedure is usually offered to patients who have undergone previous failed percutaneous steroid Marcaine injections, including selective nerve root block, caudal epidural, facet joint block and sacroiliac joint injections.

Percutaneous discectomy involves the deployment of a device that allows percutaneous aspiration of nucleus material through a lateral approach.  The advantage of the procedure is that it does not generate epidural scarring as the epidural space is not breached during the procedure.  A relative disadvantage of the procedure is that it is suitable for only small discs, and patients with larger disc protrusions should undergo traditional surgical microdiscectomy.  This procedure is offered in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital as both day case and an overnight procedure.

Shoulder Pain Service:

The department of radiology offers both diagnostic MRI and ultrasonographic evaluation of the shoulder.  Ultrasound allows dynamic assessment of the rotator cuff and may be employed to guide targeted steroid Marcaine injections.

MRI allows evaluation of the rotator cuff, bony outlines and marrow, and is objective.  Patients with proven subacromial bursitis +/- supraspinatus tendonopathy or tears, may undergo image guided steroid Marcaine block.  This is performed by either ultrasound guidance, or with contrast confirmed approach using new bi-plane CT fluoroscopy unit.  (See publication American Journal of Radiology 2007).

Groin Pain Service:

The department of radiology offers a state of the art groin pain service which integrates the use of radiographs, ultrasound and MRI, with both 1.5 tesla and 3 tesla imaging.  Patients with proven osteitis, or muscle micro tears at the symphysis pubis are offered either ultrasound or fluoroscopic guided symphysography with targeted steroid Marcaine injection.  (See publication radiology 2005 secondary cleft sign, radiology superior cleft sign in press).

Peripheral Joint Injection:

Peripheral joint steroid Marcaine injections to the wrist, elbow, hip, knee, ankle and small joints of the foot can be performed with either ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance through the department of radiology.  Interventional procedure lists are offered four days weekly.  Each procedure employs targeted steroid Marcaine injection following contrast confirmation of needle placement.

Whole Body Imaging:

The department of radiology through the new MRI unit offers whole body MR imaging with a moving table top.  This may be valuable in staging tumours, as an alternative to bone scan to stage skeletal metastatic disease, in the identification of an unknown primary tumour, and has specific roles in the assessment of patients with suspected muscle inflammatory diseases such as polymyositis. (See publications Radiology AJR).


(Orthopaedic and Sports Imaging at Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital):

Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital represents a tertiary referral centre for the assessment and imaging of sports injuries.  This facility has been recently enhanced by the development of OSIC (Orthopaedic and Sports Imaging at Cappagh), the new MR centre in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.  The MR centre in the hospital now offers both 1.5 tesla and multi phase 3 tesla imaging.

The 3 tesla multi phase unit is the first of its kind installed in Ireland.  This allows state of the art high resolution imaging of articular surfaces, and facilitates the active cartilage implantation programme in the National Orthopaedic Hospital (ACI).

All facilities offered through radiology and OSIC in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital are open to public patients who attend Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Direct GP referrals are taken for all image guided investigation and intervention.  Patients with medical cards are served directly through the day ward without charge.  Patients with private health insurance, including VHI, Aviva and Quinn Healthcare, are covered for all interventions and imaging directly through the day ward.

Direct Settlement with VHI is available for MRIs as below:

VHI Category 1 Consultant Referral =  FULL COVER
VHI Category 2 GP Referral = EXCESS PAYMENT ONLY

Please view MRI Directory for further details.

Hours of Service

Monday – Friday: 8.00am – 4.00pm  (MRI Department)
Monday – Friday: 8.00am – 5.00pm (X-Ray Department)

Contact Information

Ms Anne Smith
Radiography Services Manager

X-Ray Appointments - Phone: +353 (1) 814 0360
MRI Appointments - Phone: +353 (1) 814 0361

Mission Statement

We are inspired by the love of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy.

We strive to Care for all patients with excellence, Cherish the uniqueness of each person and Treat them with compassion, love and integrity.

We are constantly challenged to meet the needs of our times in all aspects of care, through ongoing education and research.