Benefit of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound and why should one choose ultrasound guided injection over standard injection?

Musculoskeletal ultrasound scanning, also known as MSK ultrasound, is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves and other structures within the musculoskeletal system. Simply put, this scan will look for bone changes, inflammation or tissue damage or generic age-related wear and tear in your body.

This scan is most useful when done by experienced musculoskeletal sonographers as they must interpret the findings which they see on the ultrasound machine. It can help to diagnose a range of injuries including chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as tendinosis or tendonitis, bursal impingement or bursitis, rotator cuff tears or tendinosis, arthritis or wear and tear, carpal tunnel syndrome or pins in needles in certain fingers of your hands, or other joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory joint problems.

This diagnostic tool is widely used to assess various medical conditions and injuries because it has numerous benefits. Here are some of the benefits of musculoskeletal ultrasound scanning.

Infographic for Benefit of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

1. Non-invasive: MSK ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging technique that does not require any incisions or injections. It is a painless procedure that does not expose patients to ionizing radiation, making it safe for patients of all ages.

2. Real-time imaging: Unlike other imaging techniques like X-rays or MRIs, MSK ultrasound provides real-time imaging. This means that the practitioner can see the structures they are examining in real-time, enabling them to detect even the smallest changes or abnormalities. The real-time imaging also allows for dynamic testing to evaluate structures during motion, which means that your clinician can see what is going wrong in your body.

3. Accurate diagnosis: MSK ultrasound gives a high level of accuracy in diagnosing musculoskeletal disorders. It can detect conditions like injuries, inflammations, and even tiny fractures, that may not be visible on X-rays. It also helps to see early inflammatory changes if someone is having a rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or generic wear and tear arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own joints, causing inflammation and pain. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis linked with psoriasis, characterized by joint pain and swelling, which can occur alongside skin lesions. Osteoarthritis is a age related wear and tear to joint where the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time, leading to pain and stiffness.

4. Cost-effective: MSK ultrasound is a cost-effective procedure compared to other imaging techniques like MRIs and CT scans. This makes it an attractive option for patients who want a thorough evaluation of their musculoskeletal system without breaking the bank.

5. Dynamic imaging: MSK ultrasound allows visualisation of the musculoskeletal structure during movement. This aids in diagnosis and offers the healthcare provider opportunities to identify underlying issues. This is most commonly used in shoulder impingement where assessing clinician can see what is getting impinged in your shoulder. Shoulder impingement is a condition where shoulder movement causes pain and restricts motion due to tendons or bursa being pinched between the bones of the shoulder.

6. Guide injection procedures: MSK ultrasound is a useful tool during injections into joints/bursa etc. Essentially, ultrasound guided injection is like delivering your parcel (medication) to correct address (where there is inflammation and medication is required) as opposed to routine injections where delivery can go missing or can be delivered to any address (where there is no inflammation and medication is not even required). Having direct visualization within your body can improve accuracy of the placement of the needle and therefore improving the efficacy of the treatment such as cortisone or ostenil injection. Cortisone injection is a type of steroid injection used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the joints, while Osthenil injection is a type of medication used to treat severe joint pain and inflammation.

7. Quick and easy: MSK ultrasound scanning is a quick and easy procedure that is usually completed within 15-30 minutes, depending on the area being examined.

In conclusion, the benefits of musculoskeletal ultrasound scanning cannot be overstated. It is a safe, non-invasive, accurate, and cost-effective imaging technique that offers real-time imaging and dynamic testing of the musculoskeletal structures. The technology continues to improve, allowing us the healthcare providers to offer exceptional care to our patients.

At Joint Injection Clinic, we have experienced MSK sonographers who also train other clinicians to become MSK sonographers. You are assured that our sonographers can diagnose your condition and can provide you guided injections if required.