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Common injuries identified with ultrasound:
- Shoulder: rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, bursitis, impingement
- Elbow: medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Knee: meniscal tears, ligament strains, Baker’s cyst
- Hip: bursitis, tendonitis
- Ankle sprains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stress fractures
Benefits of using ultrasound to diagnose an injury:
- Performed quickly in-office
- Exam is performed in real-time with dynamic motion
- Can be easily compared to the non-injured side
- Instant results
- Differentiates between new and old injuries
Diagnosing with Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
Diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound requires a scheduled appointment, where the patient will meet with the sonographer. During the exam, which lasts approximately 15 minutes, the ultrasound unit obtains a moving picture of internal structures by measuring echo waves from sounds emitted by the transducer. This method of imaging is extremely comfortable for the patient, barring any uncomfortable positioning that may be required for a very brief period to obtain the images.
The exam consists of applying a clear gel to the skin and the transducer is moved across the painful areas, gathering images of tendons, muscles, tissue, and bone. The image can reveal tears, excess fluid, and other abnormalities. Dynamic motion while scanning is also utilized to further assist the physician in making a correct diagnosis.
Following the exam, the sonographer can immediately provide a preliminary report for the physician or physician assistant, who will then review the scan and dictate his findings.