Use of Ultrasound in Orthopedics

Use of Ultrasound in Orthopedics

The musculoskeletal system is complex and requires the coordination of many bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other structures to work together for movement and function. There are various imaging procedures that can be ordered to help physicians gain a better understanding of an injury. 

Ultrasound has been utilized in orthopedics as a non-invasive imaging modality to help assist with diagnosis and interventions. Sports medicine physicians often use musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSKUS) as an extension of their examination to develop and execute their treatment plans. 

Find out more about ultrasound in orthopedics and what it may mean for you.

What is Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging device that is comprised of a transducer (small probe) that sends out inaudible, high-frequency sound waves that travel through the area that is being scanned. Certain structures such as bone reflect the waves back to the transducer to produce an image, whereas liquids allow the waves to pass through. This technology allows us to better evaluate muscles, tendons, and other structures.  

What should patients know about the side effects regarding Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

  • Ultrasound doesn’t use radiation, so it poses no health risks compared to an X-ray or CT scan.
  • You aren’t confined to an enclosed space like an MRI, so those that experience claustrophobia should be fine with an in-office ultrasound.
  • Ultrasound doesn’t require receiving an injection of contrast and instead utilizes a gel placed on the skin to help obtain the image. 

What makes Musculoskeletal Ultrasound unique?

There are various imaging tests that can assist physicians with making an accurate diagnosis or helping with planning for certain procedures. MSKUS offers an advantage of dynamic evaluation over certain tests such as X-ray, MRI, or CT for diagnostic purposes. Sometimes, patients can reproduce the motion that recreates the symptoms they are experiencing. Placing a transducer over the area of interest allows us to dynamically evaluate the body region while also providing feedback and education to the patient in office. 

How can Musculoskeletal Ultrasound assist with routine injections?

It is very common for patients to be apprehensive about any orthopedic procedure, including injections. There are many reasons why an ultrasound may be advantageous. It has been proven to increase accuracy, decrease pain, but also provide diagnostic information for the physician performing the procedure. The human body is complex and often there may be more than one structure that could be causing pain. Utilizing an ultrasound can help assist the physician in being systematic with their treatments and differential diagnosis, while also decreasing pain for patients receiving the injection.

If you’re suffering from orthopedic pain, the professionals at Rothman can help. Click here to schedule an appointment today.  

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