Introducing Musculoskeletal Ultrasound: The New Helpful Tool in Soft Tissue Injury Diagnosis

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28 Jan 2017 - General

Musculoskeletal Utrasound (MSK UTZ) is relatively new in the field of medicine and is gaining more popularity. MSK UTZ is helpful in detecting soft tissue injuries where x-ray becomes limited in aiding diagnosis. A good foundation of anatomy and operator competence is a must when performing MSK UTZ. Once a physican completes mastery of performing MSK UTZ, some distinct advantages over both X-ray and MRI can be enjoyed and are as follows:

  • No unnecessary radiation exposure for patient. X-rays are only helpful when there is suspicion of fracture or other bony pathology such as senile osteoporosis. Even osteophytes can be visualized with MSK UTZ. Performing defensive medicine by requesting for an x-ray can be prevented by performing MSK UTZ instead.
  • Studies are done in real time. Tests can be dynamic as joints can be mobilized during exam to show how structural damage affect joint movement. This also hepls remove doubts when identifying tears and areas of effusion.
  • Great for claustrophobic patients. Claustrophobia is a major issue that limits performance of MRI.
  • Guide in performing intra-articular injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, and viscosupplementation. This ensures that contemplated procedures enter the joint space in order to maximize therapeutic effects.
  • Fast to perform. It can range from 5 to 15 minutes only especially when done by a skilled sonolgist. 

MSK UTZ is projected to be the gold standard in diagnosing rheumatoid arhritis in the near future and is very helpful in reducing radiation exposure to patients. In the Philipppines, rehabilitation medicine specialitsts (aka physiatrists) and rheumatologists lead the front in providing MSK UTZ services to patients. For the MIMS community, is MSK UTZ utilized too for diagnosis of soft tissue diseases?