Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and joints throughout the body. It is used to help diagnose sprains, strains, tears, trapped nerves, arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Ultrasound is safe, noninvasive, and does not use ionizing radiation.

This procedure requires little to no special preparation. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.

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What is Ultrasound Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System?

Ultrasound is safe and painless. It produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging is also called ultrasound scanning or sonography. It uses a small probe called a transducer and gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves travel from the probe through the gel into the body. The probe collects the sounds that bounce back. A computer uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound exams do not use radiation (as used in x-rays). Because images are captured in real-time,they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs. They can also show blood flowing through blood vessels.

Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Ultrasound images of the Musculoskeletal system provide pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves and soft tissues throughout the body.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:

  • tendon tears or tendinitis of the rotator cuff in the shoulder, Achilles tendon in the ankle and many other tendons throughout the body.
  • muscle tears, masses or fluid collections.
  • ligament sprains or tears.
  • inflammation or fluid (effusions) within the bursae and joints.
  • early changes of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • ganglion cysts.