Diagnostic Ultrasound

diagnostic-ultrasound What is diagnostic ultrasound?

Diagnostic ultrasound is a special, non-ionizing form of imaging used to visualize, in real time, injuries and other pathology of tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones of the foot and ankle.  It is also used to help guide therapeutic injections and aspirations of joints, muscles, tendons and nerves.

How is the exam performed?

An ultrasound machine has a special attachment called a transducer.  The transducer is used along with ultrasound gel to pass over the targeted area.  The images will be immediately available on the screen.  Ultrasound can allow for real-time imaging while the patient reproduces his or her symptoms. This is not possible to the same degree with other imaging modalities.

What are the treatment advantages of diagnostic ultrasound?

  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound is fast, low-cost and safe. 
  • For many superficial musculoskeletal soft tissues, ultrasounds offer the most high-quality images available. 
  • An added feature of ultrasound is the ability to evaluate for active inflammation by detecting increased blood flow in soft tissues using Doppler imaging. 
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound is very useful for procedures, allowing for real-time visualization of the needle and the target during the procedure. 
  • Unlike CT and X-ray, musculoskeletal ultrasound does not expose patients to radiation. It costs less than MRI and has been accepted by insurance carriers as a valuable imaging modality. 
  • It is important to note that musculoskeletal ultrasound cannot penetrate bone. Thus, problems involving the bones themselves and deep joint structures warrant X-ray and sometimes MRI or CT for further evaluation.

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