Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Shoulder bursitis.

 

Ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:

  • tendon tears, or tendinitis of the rotator cuff in the shoulder, Achilles tendon in the ankle and other tendons throughout the body.
  • muscle tears, masses or fluid collections. ligament sprains or tears. inflammation or fluid (effusions) within the bursae and joints.
  • early changes of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • benign and malignant soft tissue tumors.
  • ganglion cysts.
  • hernias.
  • foreign bodies in the soft tissues (such as splinters or glass).

Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).

Benefits: 

  • Most ultrasound scanning is non-invasive (no needles or injections).
  • Occasionally, an ultrasound exam may be temporarily uncomfortable, but it is almost never painful.
  • Ultrasound is widely available, easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods.
  • Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
  • Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.
  • Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as injections, needle biopsies, and fluid aspiration.
  • Patients with cardiac pacemakers and certain types of metallic implants or fragments in the body cannot be safely exposed to the strong magnetic field required for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); however, patients can safely receive ultrasound imaging.
  • Ultrasound is also an excellent alternative to MRI for claustrophobic patients.
  • Compared to MRI, ultrasound may provide greater internal detail when assessing soft tissue structures such as tendons and nerves.
  • Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show the movement of a soft tissue structure such as a tendon, joint or an extremity.

Risks: 

For standard diagnostic ultrasound, there are no known harmful effects on humans.