The use of ultrasound to evaluate musculoskeletal structures was first reported in 1958. Since then, its use has grown exponentially, particularly in the office setting. Ultrasound enables physicians to reliably visualize soft tissue structures including muscle bellies, tendons, ligaments, arteries, and nerves, as well as identify any pathologic changes within these structures.
The use of ultrasound has several advantages, including the relatively lower cost compared to other imaging methods and the absence of ionizing radiation. For example, MRI’s take 30-45 minutes to perform at a specific imaging facility. Ultrasound is a repeatable, noninvasive imaging modality that is capable of providing real-time dynamic tissue assessment in a matter of minutes. In addition, ultrasound can be used to quickly compare the affected and contralateral sides when necessary.
Ultrasound has also been as an imaging guide for intra-articular or soft-tissue injections to help improve accuracy. Using ultrasound guidance, a physician can directly visualize an injection needle’s path and the immediate structures around it, thereby minimizing the risk of injury to adjacent nerves or blood vessels.
Additionally, multiple studies have shown that use of ultrasound increases the accuracy of needle placement for injections. Our office has ultrasound capability for evaluating musculoskeletal structures and for performing ultrasound guided injections.