Ultrasound uses sounds waves to help visualize tissues in the body in a noninvasive manner. Sounds waves use no radiation. Ultrasound is well known to most people for its use in looking at a fetus during pregnancy. It is a safe and easy to perform evaluation in the office. With advancing technology, ultrasound is now being used to evaluate musculoskeletal tissue. We can look at muscle, bursa, joint fluid, effusions and other soft tissue structures in the office with instant results. Ultrasound is increasingly being found to be helpful in looking at soft tissue (muscle, nerve, bursa, ligaments,etc.) immediately, and safely(no radiation) in the office. This noninvasive method uses a transducer(a wand), gel, and a computer screen.
This picture shows what the computer screen would show when looking at a person’s shoulder or rotator cuff with ultrasound. The down arrow is pointing to a tear in the rotator cuff muscle as it goes across the screen over the humerus.
Ultrasound can also be used for treatment by allowing easy, safe visualization of soft tissue for precise needle placement. Without radiation , your doctor can see soft tissues and the needle to allow exact placement of needle and medications during an injection. Real time images allow the doctor to see soft tissue and what is happening now. Whether fluid is being injected (medication) or if fluid is being taken out (effusion or water on your knee) it can visualized as it is being done.