What is Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

Here at Spectrum Orthopaedics, we offer our patients musculoskeletal ultrasound as one way to help diagnose conditions. Ultrasound or sonography involves sending sound waves into the body. These sound waves bounce off of tissues and form a computer picture through a handheld transducer.

Ultrasound images are captured in real time so they can show movement of internal tissues and organs, as well as flow of blood in the arteries and veins. Some tests of the tissues can be performed while watching (dynamic testing) to assess if tissues are inflamed. Providers can even perform injections using ultrasound assistance, making the procedure more safe and accurate.

An ultrasound image is a useful way of examining the musculoskeletal system of the body to detect problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint surfaces, and soft tissues such as blood vessels. Ultrasound cannot penetrate bone and, therefore, cannot be used to diagnose all bone problems. For visualizing the internal structure of bones or certain joints, other imaging modalities, such as MRI or CT scan, might also be needed.

Here at Spectrum, our physicians perform the entire exam and will share the results with you immediately. In addition, the images will be saved to your electronic medical record along with a formal report. Often, you will follow up with your original physician for further treatment planning.

Some things that our physicians can diagnose via ultrasound include:

  • Strains or tears (rotator cuff)
  • Tendon irritation (tendinitis, tendinopathy)
  • Ligament tears (UCL)
  • Soft tissue masses (ganglion cyst, neuroma)
  • Foreign bodies
  • Fluid collections

Ultrasound is very safe. It does not involve any radiation and can be completed even if you have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator, or metallic implants. Your provider will be able to tell you if any symptoms you’re experiencing would benefit from an ultrasound.

To learn more about ultrasound or our other services, click here.

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