Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

What is Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSK US)?

Ultrasound is an imaging examination which utilizes sound waves to create an image. A hand-held device, called a probe, is covered with gel to help the sound waves travel through the skin. The probe is then placed on the skin and sends sound waves into the adjacent body part. The sound waves return to the probe and create a real-time image of that body part. In the musculoskeletal system, imaged structures include many tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. MSK US is often complementary to other imaging examinations (e.g., radiographs, CT, MRI).

Some examples of when Diagnostic MSK US can be helpful:

  • Tendon tears or tendinitis
  • Muscle tears, masses, or fluid collections
  • Ligaments tears or sprains
  • Presence of joint or bursal fluid, +/- accompanying inflammation
  • Early changes of inflammatory arthritis
  • Certain nerve entrapments; cubital and carpal tunnel
  • Presence of ganglion cysts
  • Presence of foreign bodies in the soft tissues
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