Sound Waves Provide Imaging of Structures
What is Diagnostic Ultrasound?
Diagnostic Ultrasound is an imaging modality that uses sound waves to produce images of structures. The images can look inside the body to diagnose certain conditions.
During a diagnostic ultrasound exam, a small handheld device called a transducer is placed on the skin over the area of interest. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that penetrate the body and bounce back off the internal structures, producing echoes. These echoes are detected by the transducer and used to create real-time images of the internal structures on a monitor.
Diagnostic ultrasound, when used by a skilled physician, can evaluate joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles to see if they are torn or injured. These services can be done in the clinic and can save an unnecessary MRI.
What are the advantages of diagnostic ultrasound for musculoskeletal conditions?
Diagnostic ultrasound has several advantages for evaluating musculoskeletal conditions, including:
1. Non-invasive: Unlike some other imaging techniques, such as MRI or CT scan, ultrasound is non-invasive and does not require any radiation exposure.
2. Real-time imaging: Ultrasound allows for real-time imaging of the soft tissue structures, such as tendons, muscles, ligaments, and nerves, as well as the bony structures. This allows for a dynamic evaluation of the structures during movement or while performing specific maneuvers, which can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.
3. High resolution: Ultrasound has high spatial resolution, which allows for detailed visualization of the soft tissue structures. This can aid in the identification of small tears, calcifications, fluid collections, and other abnormalities.
4. Cost-effective: Ultrasound is a relatively low-cost imaging modality compared to MRI or CT scan, making it more accessible and cost-effective for patients.
5. Safe: Ultrasound does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation, making it a safe imaging modality for patients, particularly those who require multiple imaging studies.
6. Guided procedures: Ultrasound can also be used to guide certain diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, such as needle biopsies, joint injections, and aspiration of fluid collections.
How do I know if my physician is skilled in diagnostic ultrasound?
A skilled physician has experience in either a sports fellowship or musculoskeletal radiology residency to properly evaluate structures. He should have a certification and be able to write a full diagnostic report of the structures evaluated and the results. Dr. Gruner possesses the Registered in Musculoskeletal® (RMSK®) sonography certification which requires 250 diagnostic ultrasound. He also trained at Mayo Clinic for his sports fellowship from some of the experts in diagnostic ultrasound which is the #1 rated hospital in the United States.
Dr. Gruner also teaches diagnostic ultrasound around the United States to physicians who want to learn diagnostic ultrasound.
How does MSK ultrasound compare to MRI for conditions?
For evaluating tendons, and soft tissue structures like muscles and nerves ultrasound is equal in comparison to MRI. Some conditions ultrasound is excellent for evaluating tissue includes rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow/golfers elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, gluteal tendinopathy, hamstring tendinopathy, patella tendinopathy, achilles and plantar fasciitis. In many cases this affordable imaging modality can save a patient from getting a MRI for many orthopedic injuries.