Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (US) is a non-invasive office-based diagnostic test that uses non-painful ultrasound waves that creates images of various structures in the body. These images help elucidate the various causes of orthopedic pain such as tendon tears, muscle contusions, and even early stress fractures of bone.
Unlike x-rays, which use harmful ionizing radiation, US is completely safe even in patients with pacemakers and other types of surgical hardware who may not be able to receive an MRI. Patients also do not need to worry about getting into a narrow tube, which can cause some patients to become extremely claustrophobic. In fact, in a comparative study, patients preferred getting a diagnostic US compared to undergoing MRI scans.
Since US can be used while a patient is moving, it is a great diagnostic test to determine causes of pops, snaps, or clicks occurring about joints, muscles or tendons. Additionally, it can not only help identify the underlying problem causing the pain, but it can also help guide a therapeutic injections. When performed under US-guidance these procedures have been shown to be less painful and more effective in treating various orthopedic conditions compared to more traditional procedures.
Dr Paul Lento, a non-operative board certified sports medicine specialist at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, has been performing Musculoskeletal US since 2003 and has published book chapters and journal articles on the topic. Additionally, while lecturing nationally and internationally, he has trained several hundred physicians on Musculoskeletal US. He is fellowship trained and certified as a Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSK) and has been using non-surgical treatments for various musculoskeletal conditions since 2000. Here at SOA, our doctors strive to provide the latest strategies, which help get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.