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Muscle and Joint

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic technique to capture images of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints of the body. It is used to diagnose sprains, tears, and other soft tissue injuries. Since ultrasound scanning captures images in real-time, this method can be used to evaluate both static and dynamic conditions of the musculoskeletal structures.

The main advantage of the musculoskeletal ultrasound is its ability to produce dynamic images. This technique is ideal for imaging superficial musculoskeletal structures. Moreover, the technique is cost-effective, fast, and safe, and does not involve ionizing radiation. The fact that implanted metal devices do not interfere with imaging of adjacent tissue is another advantage, though they do not allow the ultrasound to travel through them to image deeper tissues.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is primarily used to evaluate traumatic, inflammatory, and degenerative conditions of musculoskeletal structures including joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This technique is widely used to diagnose tears or inflammation of the tendons, especially the rotator cuff in the shoulder and the Achilles tendon in the ankle.

The technique is also commonly used to detect muscle and ligament tears or sprains. The presence of soft tissue masses with a small diameter can be easily detected by this technique; moreover, the technique is useful in detecting fluid accumulation within the soft tissue, joint effusions, inflammation of the synovial membrane, and peripheral nerve lesions.

It is not used to pick out causes for a poorly localized pain or other vague symptoms, neither can it detect masses which are too large or too deep within the tissue.
In children healthcare, musculoskeletal ultrasound is frequently used to detect hip dislocation, neck muscle deformities, soft tissue masses, and fluid accumulation in the hip joint.

With the use of color flow imaging or color Doppler imaging, ultrasound helps diagnose active inflammations by detecting elevated blood flow in the soft tissue.

Therapeutically, musculoskeletal ultrasound is widely used to direct the needle during injections (as of steroids) into specific joints and adjacent soft tissue to treat joint pain, as well as aspirating fluids from specific target areas. Moreover, the post-treatment healing process can be easily visualized by this technique.

27 May 2022