Prof. Dr. med. Christian W. A. Pfirrmann
The Department of Radiology at the Balgrist University Hospital carries out diagnostic imaging of the musculoskeletal system with the whole range of state-of-the-art X-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT, and MRI equipment.
The entire team specialises in the musculoskeletal system, making it unique in Switzerland. The radiology services are available for all our patients and for referrals from other doctors and hospitals.
Sports injuries are more complicated than other changes in the musculoskeletal system. The work-up requires understanding of the biomechanics and the nature of the sport. Findings from our research segue into the diagnostic investigation and treatment of sports injuries. A specialised team with the latest equipment is available for elite sports – round the clock, if necessary.
Rheumatology diagnostic investigations
Our clinical and scientific activities focus on the imaging required specially for rheumatological diseases. Work-ups with techniques such as whole-body MRI scanning for ankylosing spondylitis or MRI of the hands and feet for the early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis are increasingly relevant to personalised patient care.
Orthopaedic diagnostic investigations
With the advances in orthopaedic surgery, the demands on diagnostic imaging are becoming more complex. Our spectrum of investigations includes functional examinations, measurements and calculations, post-implant imaging, and personalised investigations for operation planning.
Minimally invasive pain therapy
We carry out a large number of image-guided minimally invasive treatments (e.g. injections of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs for prolapsed discs). In addition, we offer the possibility of treating facet joint arthritis and nerve root irritation with pulsed radiofrequency therapy.
Our infrastructure is absolutely up-to-the-minute and always adapted to the patient’s needs. For example, we have high-field MRI scanners with the widest possible bore for the patient on the market. At the present time, we operate:
- Three hi-tech MRI scanners, one 3 Tesla scanner, and two 1.5 Tesla scanners. One of the scanners has a comfortable 70 cm diameter bore for patients.
- One extremities 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner, which offers a good alternative for examination of the limbs in patients with claustrophobia.
- Two CT scanners (a 64-slice system and a dual-energy 64-slice scanner) as well as a CT scanner for examinations with the patient standing (flat panel detectors)
- Two fluoroscopy machines
- One ultrasound scanner
- One EOS whole body scanner for images of the entire vertebral column or the whole leg, with the possibility of 3D reconstructions
- Two digital X-ray machines with wireless flat panel detectors
- DXA (dual X-ray absorptiometry; bone mineral density scan) with the facility for simultaneous vertebral fracture risk assessment and whole-body fat measurement
Our system for the electronic storage and distribution of data (PACS) allows us to send results directly to our referring doctors via secure internet connections.
We consider clinical research to be an integral part of our work. Research leads to more precise diagnosis and targeted use of imaging procedures. In addition, it is an important measure of quality assurance.
We would be happy to arrange an appointment with you. If you wish to call us for more information, you can reach us during office hours.
Monday - Friday
08.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
+41 44 386 33 13
We now have longer MRI operating times, from 7.00 am - 8.00 pm.
Prof. Dr. med. Christian W. A. Pfirrmann
PD Dr. med. Reto Sutter
PD Dr. med. Andrea B. Rosskopf
PD Dr. med. Veronika Zubler
PD Dr. med. Nadja Farshad
Dr. med. Christoph A. Agten
Dr. med. Franca Boldt
Dr. med. Benjamin Fritz
Downloads (available only in German)
- Institute for diagnostic radiology Zurich University Hospital
- International Diagnostic Course Davos IDKD
- European Society of Musculoskeletal Radiology ESSR
- Schweiz. Gesellschaft für Muskuloskelettale Radiologie SSSR
- International Skeletal Society ISS
- European Society of Radiology ESR
- Schweiz. Gesellschaft für Radiologie SRG-SSR
Information for referring doctors
We are leaders in diagnostic imaging of the musculoskeletal system and continuously implement the latest findings from musculoskeletal research in radiology. Our offers cover the whole range of imaging with state-of-the-art MRI, CT, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and X-ray equipment. Our team specialises in the musculoskeletal system in both clinical aspects and scientific research, which gives us an expertise in both image acquisition and interpretation that is unique in Switzerland. All our services are available directly to referring physicians and hospitals.
Indications and range of services
The radiology team led by Prof. Christian W. A. Pfirrmann specialises in the following diagnostic investigation and treatment
- Sports injuries of the musculoskeletal system
- General and specialised orthopaedic and rheumatological imaging of the musculoskeletal system
- Imaging of the spine
- Postoperative imaging (including metal artefact correction for implants)
- Minimally invasive pain therapy of the spine and musculoskeletal system
We offer the following medical services
- Diagnostic MRI scans of the musculoskeletal system and the spine with state-of-the-art equipment (3 tesla and 1.5 tesla machines) that use advanced magnetic resonance technology for precise diagnostic investigation. One machine has a comfortable patient opening that is 70 cm wide.
- MRI scans of the limbs in a dedicated 1.5 tesla machine that offers a good option for limb investigation in patients with claustrophobia
- Computed tomography (64-slice CT and dual-energy 64-slice CT), and a CT machine for investigations with the patient standing (flat panel detectors). We also have the possibility to perform low-dose CT scans and gout CT scans (demonstration of urate crystals with dual energy).
- Various specialised MRI and CT examinations (e.g. MR and CT arthrography, whole body MRI for ankylosing spondylitis, MRI of the hand for rheumatoid arthritis, MRI of the foot for rheumatoid arthritis, rotation measurements, CT-guided biopsies, CT-assisted pulsed radiofrequency therapy of the spine)
- Ultrasound and fluoroscopic examinations of the joints and musculoskeletal system, including minimally invasive pain therapy and diagnostic investigation (e.g. platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, diagnostic aspirations to rule out infection)
- EOS whole body X-ray scanner to record the whole spine or whole leg with the possibility of calculating 3D images
- Digital X-ray imaging of the spine and musculoskeletal system with wireless flat panel detectors
- Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) for bone density measurement; with the possibility of simultaneous estimation of the risk of vertebral fracture and whole-body fat measurement
- Electronic storage and rapid transmission of data directly to our referring physicians through secure internet connections
The benefit to your patients
Our medical services offer your patients the following advantages
- Use of cutting-edge technology for image acquisition. Some of this technology has been developed by the radiology team together with medical engineering companies so that your patients can benefit from the latest and most reliable procedures before they are available elsewhere.
- Examination and interpretation of the images are carried out by a team specialising in the radiology of the musculoskeletal system and spine.
- Rapid expert reporting and rapid electronic transmission of all the data directly to our re-ferring physicians. Doctors on our team will also provide advice by phone.
- Patient-centred clinical research is an integral part of our work, leading to continuous improvement in diagnosis and treatment. It is also a key measure of quality assurance.