Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSKUS) enables the doctor to visualize the area (muscle, nerve and bone) where your pain is generated. With information from the MSKUS, the doctor can make better treatment recommendations.
While most people are familiar with the use of diagnostic ultrasound to visualize a fetus in a mother’s womb, such technology is also often the best way to visualize tendon, ligament, bursa, muscles and nerve tissues.
Ultrasound imaging or sonography involves exposing a part of the body to high frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound imaging does not use ionizing radiation (as are used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound images of the musculoskeletal system provide pictures of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissue throughout the body.
At Truong Rehabilitation Center, interventional pain management is our focus. Ultrasound visualization guides many of our procedures, allowing us to look inside the body as the procedure is occurring and directing the doctor visually. As a result procedures are safer and more accurate.
MSKUS has many significant advantages over x-rays, MRI, and CT scans. These include:
•better resolution of soft tissue than MRI
•convenient in-office service; no need to go to another facility
•no exposure to ionizing radiation
•the ability to perform a dynamic or "live" study; we can see the injured area move and look for evidence of injury
•ability to see inflammation
•ability to guide injections
For example, MSKUS has been shown to be equal to or even better than MRI for looking at the rotor cuff. Also, MSKUS allows the physician to look for signs of joint instability, unlike x-rays or MRI.
One of the great advantages of MSKUS is the ability to use ultrasound to help the physician guide the needle when performing injections. While many injections traditionally are performed "blind," without the help of guidance, studies have shown that these injectios can result in the poor accuracy. Performing injections under ultrasound guidance helps insure accurate needle placement and medication delivery. This improves both patient comfort and treatment efficacy. It also helps avoid placing the needle in nearby dangerous structures such as nerves, blood vessels, or other organs.
A recent study looked at the accuracy of hip joint injections done with ultrasound guidance. Ultrasound had a 97% accuracy rate. When comparing injections given into the piriformis muscle (a muscle deep in the buttocks that sits on top of the sciatic nerve) between ultrasound and fluoroscopy ("live" x-ray), one study showed that ultrasound guidance achieved a 95% accuracy rate, whereas fluoroscopy was accurate only 30% of the time in guiding the needle correctly.