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Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System

Last updated Feb. 5, 2019

Frmir

Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System is performed to visualize tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the patient.


Background Information:

What are the other Names for the Procedure?

  • Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure
  • Ultrasound of Musculoskeletal System
  • USG of Musculoskeletal System

What is Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure? (General Explanation)

  • Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce real-time images. The procedure can be used to show movement of internal organs and blood flowing through blood vessels
  • Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System is performed to visualize tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the patient
  • Doppler ultrasound is useful in assessing blood flow in arteries and veins in arms, legs, abdomen, and neck

What part of the Body does the Procedure involve?

An Ultrasound of Musculoskeletal System may involve any body part depending upon the medical condition or injury being targeted.

Why is the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure Performed?

Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System is performed to diagnose various medical conditions, such as:

  • Sprains or strains of ligaments
  • Tears in muscles or tendons
  • Tendonitis
  • Fluid buildup in the bursa or joints
  • Foreign bodies in soft tissues
  • Narrowing and nerve entrapment in carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Hernias
  • Ganglion cysts
  • To identify any changes in breasts
  • To identify any changes in rheumatoid arthritis

What is the Equipment used? (Description of Equipment)

 The equipment for ultrasound imaging consists of:

  • An ultrasound transducer
  • A computer monitor
  • A central processing unit
  • A printer

A transducer is used to send high-frequency sound waves in the body and the computer creates the image based on the echoes of that sound returning from the patient’s body.

What are the Recent Advances in the Procedure?

There have been no recent advances in the field of Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure.

What is the Cost of performing the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

The cost of Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of your health insurance, annual deductibles, co-pay requirements, out-of-network and in-network of your healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.

In many cases, an estimate may be provided before the procedure. The final amount depends upon the findings during the surgery/procedure and post-operative care that is necessary.

When do you need a Second Opinion, prior to the Procedure?

  • It is normal for a patient to feel uncomfortable and confused with a sudden inflow of information regarding Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure and what needs to be done
  • If the patient needs further reassurance or a second opinion, a physician will almost always assist in recommending another physician
  • Also, if the procedure involves multiple steps or has many alternatives, the patient may take a second opinion to understand and choose the best one. They can also choose to approach another physician independently

What are some Helpful Resources?

http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=genus (accessed on 10/16/14)

Prior to Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure:

How does the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure work?

An Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure works in the following manner:

  • The ultrasound procedure works on similar principles used in sonar by submarines, to determine the size and shape of the object and how far away the object is
  • The transducer sends out high-frequency sound waves in the body. When sound waves echo back from the body, the microphone in the transducer records the changes in the sound
  • And using the changes in the sound, it is possible to determine the shape, size, or any other changes in the structure of the organ
  • Using the change in the echoed sound, a computer produces a picture in real-time on the screen
  • Doppler ultrasound is used to determine the direction and speed of the blood cells 

How is the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure Performed?

An Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure is performed in the following manner:

  • The patient lies face-up on the table
  • A water-based gel is applied on the area of interest so that transducer can have better contact with the area and air pockets are eliminated between the transducer and body
  • A sonographer puts the transducer on the body and moves it around the area of interest to capture the desired image

Where is the Procedure Performed?

An Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure is performed either as an outpatient or inpatient procedure, at a hospital.

Who Performs the Procedure?

An ultrasound technician performs the USG of Musculoskeletal System procedure under the supervision of a radiologist.

How long will the Procedure take?

The Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure will take about 30 minutes.

Who interprets the Result?

A radiologist interprets the results of the USG of Musculoskeletal System procedure.

What Preparations are needed, prior to the Procedure?

The following preparations may be needed prior to Musculoskeletal USG scan:

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient, including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Do inform the medical professional if you have a history of any medical conditions, such as a heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • Do inform the medical professional about any allergies, especially related to barium or iodinated contrast material, which may be used in the procedure
  • The ultrasound is not recommended, if the patient had had barium enema or GI tests in the past 2 days
  • It is advisable to wear comfortable and loose clothes. Avoid wearing any metal objects or jewelry, as it may interfere with the scan
  • It is highly recommended to inform your healthcare professional, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • For some specific tests related to the aorta, gallbladder, spleen, liver, or pancreas, the patient may be asked to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
  • Depending on the procedure adopted, the patient may be asked for certain bowel or bladder preparations, before the preparation sessions
  • For some other tests, the patient may be asked to drink about 6 glasses of water, 2 hours prior to the examination and avoid urinating, in order to keep the bowel full, during the exam

What is the Consent Process before the Procedure?

  • A physician will request your consent for the Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System using an Informed Consent Form
  • Consent for the Procedure: A “consent” is your approval to undergo a procedure. A consent form is signed after the risks and benefits of the procedure, and alternative treatment options, are discussed. This process is called informed consent
  • You must sign the forms only after you are totally satisfied by the answers to your questions. In case of minors and individuals unable to personally give their consent, the individual’s legal guardian or next of kin, shall give their consent for the procedure

What are the Benefits versus Risks, for this Procedure?

Following are the benefits of an Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal exam:

  • The ultrasound scan does not involve the use of any ionizing radiation
  • An ultrasound imaging is noninvasive, inexpensive, quick, and simple
  • The procedure captures clear images of soft tissues in real-time
  • The procedure can be used in needle biopsies or needle aspiration. 

Following are the risks of an Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal exam:

  • Generally none 

What are the Limitations of Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

Following are the limitations of an Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal exam:

  • It may be difficult to visualize certain structures in obese or large patients using ultrasounds, as sound waves may not be able to penetrate all the way to the target site
  • Ultrasound cannot be used to visualize surface or inside structure of bone, as sound waves cannot penetrate through the bone

What are some Questions for your Physician?

Some of the basic questions that you might ask your healthcare provider or physician are as follows:

  • What is an Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System?
  • Why is this procedure necessary? How will it help?
  • How soon should I get it done? Is it an emergency?
  • Who are the medical personnel involved in this procedure?
  • Where is the procedure performed?
  • What are the risks while performing the procedure?
  • What are the complications that might take place, during recovery?
  • What are the possible side effects from the procedure? How can I minimize these side effects?
  • How long will it take to recover? When can I resume normal work?
  • How many such procedures have you (the physician) performed?
  • Are there any follow-up tests, periodic visits to the healthcare facility required, after the procedure?
  • What are the costs involved?

During the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure:

What is to be expected during the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

The following may be expected from an Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure:

  • The test does not cause any pain
  • The table you lie on may feel hard, and the room may be cool
  • It may be difficult to lie still during the test
  • Some individuals may feel nervous during the ultrasound scan
  • The healthcare professional will help you during the procedure for optimum images

What kind of Anesthesia is given, during the Procedure?

Anesthesia is not used during an Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure.

How much Blood will you lose, during the Procedure?

There is no blood loss involved with the Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure. 

What are the possible Risks and Complications during the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

There are no known risks associated with an Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System procedure.

What Post-Operative Care is needed at the Healthcare Facility after the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

No specific post-operative care is needed at the healthcare facility after the procedure.  

After the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure:

What is to be expected after the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

  • The Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System is completely painless, noninvasive, and there is no discomfort involved
  • Gel on the exposed area will be wiped-off, at the end of the imaging procedure
  • The patient may resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure

When do you need to call your Physician?

If the patient is experiencing an allergic reaction from the gel; then, do contact the physician

What Post-Operative Care is needed at Home after the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

No specific post-operative care is needed at home after the procedure.

How long does it normally take to fully recover, from the Procedure?

The patient needs no recovery time, after the Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure.

Additional Information:

What happens to tissue (if any), taken out during the Procedure?

An Ultrasound - Musculoskeletal Imaging Procedure does not involve the removal of any body tissue.

When should you expect results from the pathologist regarding tissue taken out, during the Procedure?

Since no tissue is removed during the procedure, a pathologist does not get involved in the care of the patient.

Who will you receive a Bill from, after the Ultrasound Imaging Scan of the Musculoskeletal System radiology procedure?

It is important to note that the number of bills that the patient may receive depends on the arrangement the healthcare facility has with the physician and other healthcare providers. 

Sometimes, the patient may get a single bill that includes the healthcare facility and the consultant physician charges. Sometimes, the patient might get multiple bills depending on the healthcare provider involved. For instance, the patient may get a bill from:

  • The hospital, where the procedure is performed
  • Healthcare providers, physicians, and radiologists, who are involved in the process

The patient is advised to inquire and confirm the type of billing, before the Ultrasound Imaging of Musculoskeletal System procedure is performed.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 21, 2014
Last updated: Feb. 5, 2019