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Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is done using a dedicated ultrasound probe. Ultrasound waves are transmitted through the part of the body being imaged to produce high resolution images. These images can be captured in “real time” and can show both the structure and movement of the area scanned. The images show detailed information about the structure as well as identifying abnormal areas.

This type of scan can provide detailed images of the muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints and soft tissues throughout the body. Our high resolution images and detailed scans can assist physicians to diagnose and treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.

Using musculoskeletal ultrasound helps the rdiologist guide targeted injections, aspirations and biopsies. Ultrasound guided injections of steroids and ultrasound guided aspirations of fluid can provide excellent symptomatic relief. Please see our Image guided procedures section for more information on these treatments.

 

What are some common uses of the procedure?

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).
  • dislocations of the hip in infants.
  • fluid in a painful hip joint in children.
  • neck muscle abnormalities in infants with torticollis (neck twisting).
  • soft tissue masses (lumps/bumps) for children

 

How should I prepare?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewellery in the area to be examined.

You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
Ultrasound examinations are very sensitive to motion, and an active or crying child can prolong the examination process. To ensure a smooth experience, it often helps to explain the procedure to the child prior to the exam. Bringing books, small toys, music or games can help to distract the child and make the time pass quickly. 

 

What are the benefits vs. risks?

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 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.
  • Ultrasound imaging is faster than MRI and does not require the patient to remain completely still, allowing infants to be imaged without sedation.
  • The hip joints of infants, unlike those of adults, are largely made of cartilage. Ultrasound is able to clearly see cartilage.

Risks

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

 

Musculoskeletal Ultrasounds are a specialised Ultrasound. There is a Musculoskeletal Day where we offer Bulk Billing for this scan when we have our Doctor on site. This is due to the Medicare Bulk-Billing Requirements. 

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