Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

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Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissue throughout the body.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • You may be asked to change into a gown prior to the procedure
  • There may be a physician’s assistant or radiologist present working together with the sonographer on the exam.
  • The exam is painless, non-invasive and radiation-free. There are no known side effects to ultrasound.


Why is This Exam Done?

Musculoskeletal ultrasounds can be used to detect tears in tendons, as well as benign and malignant tumors in soft tissue. This procedure will also detect bleeding or fluid build-up in muscles and joints. Musculoskeletal ultrasounds allow physicians to monitor the early changes of rheumatoid arthritis.

How Does it Work?

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the body’s tissues, structures, and blood flow.  A transducer/probe and ultrasound gel work in combination to absorb the reflected sound waves to produce images on the monitor

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What Will Happen During the Exam?

The sonographer will request that you lay quietly during the test to help ensure that the images are clear.  Warm, water-based gel will be applied to the ultrasound transducer or directly on the skin.  The sonographer will then move the transducer around on the area to obtain clear images of the underlying structures for the physician to interpret.

The procedure typically lasts for 30 minutes, but the duration varies depending on the structure being examined.

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How Should I Prepare?

Before the test is administered, you may be asked to change into a gown.
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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound:

  • Ultrasound images are shown in real-time as they happen
  • The exam is painless and non-invasive
  • No ionizing radiation is used for this procedure
  • Claustrophobic individuals may see this as a reasonable alternative to MRI
  • Individuals unable to have an MRI performed because of pacemakers or fragments in the body are able to have ultrasounds

Risks you should be aware of:

  • There are no known risks for ultrasound
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

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