Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSK US)

July 09, 2010  |   Posted by :   |   Services   |   0 Comment»

Over the last several years the use of ultrasound in sports and orthopedic medicine has grown rapidly.  When most people think of ultrasound in medicine, they immediately think of obstetricians looking at growing babies in the uterus with fetal ultrasounds, or cardiologists doing echocardiograms to assess the heart.  But cutting-edge sports medicine physicians are starting to use ultrasound both to help diagnose injuries and to guide injections to make them more accurate and effective.

Dr. Glaser has been trained in his residency and fellowship to use MSK US for diagnostic scans and for guided injections.  Also, Dr. Glaser recently completed an US training course for diagno

MSK US has many significant advantages over x-rays, MRI, and CT scans. These include:

  • better resolution of soft tissue than MRI
  • convenient in-office service; no need to go to another facility
  • no exposure to ionizing radiation
  • no claustrophobia
  • the ability to perform a dynamic or “live” study; we can see the injured area move and
  • look for evidence of injury
  • more cost-effective
  • ability to see inflammation
  • ability to guide injections

For example, MSKUS has been shown to be equal to or even better than MRI for looking at the rotor cuff.  Also, MSKUS allows the physician to look for signs of joint instability, unlike x-rays or MRI.

What can MSKUS NOT do? While MSKUS has many great advantages, there are some restrictions, including:

  • Unlike MRI, ultrasound cannot penetrate bone to “see” inside joints, so cartilage and joint surfaces are not visualized as well
  • MSKUS is generally not as good as x-rays at looking at bones.
  • Performing and interpreting MSKUS takes a LOT of training and practice, more than x-rays and MRI.  Therefore not many physicians do it.


Above is an example of an ultrasound a right hip with an anterior approach. The red rectangle on the left shows where the ultrasound probe is located to view the ultrasound image on the right. The “A” is for the Acetabulum, the “FH” stands for Femoral Head, and the “FN” stands for femoral neck. The open arrows point to the anterior recess and the joint capsule.

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