The musculoskeletal system includes muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments and soft tissues. Ultrasound uses reflected high frequency sound waves to image these structures and to assess blood flow within them. Ultrasound is useful in many conditions. Common examples include;
• Shoulder (rotator cuff tears, tendonitis, bursitis, impingement syndrome)
• Elbow (collateral ligament evaluation, triceps/biceps tendons)
• Hand/wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome, tendon tears)
• Hip/knee (quadriceps/patellar tendon injuries, Baker’s cyst, bursitis)
• Ankle/foot (achilles tendon, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, joint problems, tendon/ligament)
• Nerves and masses (tumors, cysts, etc.)
• Guided injections
What happens during the procedure
You may be asked to put on a gown. Gel is applied to the skin to improve contact between the skin and transducer (a handheld plastic probe which sends and receives the reflected sound waves that forms the image). The transducer is moved slowly over the area of interest to acquire images in different planes.
The images are displayed on a computer monitor for interpretation. Ultrasound is generally painless but discomfort from transducer pressure may be experienced if the region examined is tender.
How long does it take?
An ultrasound takes approx 15-30 minutes depending on the complexity.
After your examination
There are no restrictions after having an ultrasound.