Ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate a fetus during pregnancy and to evaluate the function of the heart (echocardiogram). Ultrasound has also been found to be an effective way to visualize the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft-tissue structures of the musculoskeletal system. Ultrasound is a minimally invasive, safe, and effective way to examine the musculoskeletal system both statically and dynamically without exposure to x-ray radiation.
A variety of common musculoskeletal conditions can be evaluated including joint pain (such as osteoarthritis), tendonitis, bursitis, neuritis, and cysts. Ultrasound is also effective at evaluating for soft-tissue injuries in patients who are unable to have an MRI.
Musculoskeletal ultrasound can pinpoint the source of pain for many conditions and treat it effectively. Cysts and other sources of swelling can be drained safely using ultrasound to guide needle placement. Various injections can be undertaken utilizing ultrasound guidance. In addition to corticosteroid injections, several therapies are aided by ultrasound guidance.
Common procedures performed with US-guidance:
- Corticosteroid injections of the hip, shoulder, knee, ankle, wrist, foot, and hand
- Corticosteroid injections of bursa
- Trigger point injections
- Hardware blocks to help determine if surgical hardware is contributing to pain
- Nerve blocks
- Ganglion cyst aspiration
- Baker’s cyst aspiration
- Hematoma aspiration
Treatment techniques performed with US-guidance:
- Botox injections for chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Barbotage (percutaneous needle tenotomy) procedure for calcific tendinitis
- Hydrodissection for chronic scar tissue
- Percutaneous needle tenotomy for chronic tendinosis
- Platelet-rich plasma and other orthobiologics for chronic tendinosis and osteoarthritis