Ultrasound and Injections

Diagnostic ultrasound is rapidly growing as the most effective form of imaging and intervention in musculoskeletal medicine. Diagnostic ultrasound is a natural extension to a clinical assessment and is invaluable in the diagnosis and management of peripheral joint, soft tissue (muscle, tendon and ligament) and nerve injuries.

Research and development of diagnostic ultrasound conclude that is often as accurate, and on occasion, superior to an MRI for detecting injuries to tendons and ligaments. The advantage ultrasound has, is that it can capture a real-time moving image. This allows for a dynamic musculoskeletal assessment which can provide greater diagnostic value when compared to a static image from an MRI or X-ray. The results of the ultrasound scan can be given to you immediately without having to wait for a report to be sent to your GP.

Musculoskeletal injuries and complaints that benefit from a dynamic assessment, and are more suited to a diagnostic ultrasound assessment, include shoulder impingement and shoulder tendon pain, Achilles and planta fascia pain, patella tendon and quadriceps injuries, hamstring injuries, tennis and Golfer’s elbow pain, repetitive strain injuries of the wrist and hand, ankle ligament injuries caused by sprains and swelling and inflammation of the joints caused by osteoarthritis and trauma. 

Painful joints and soft tissue injuries are very common, and one of the main reasons of impaired function, affecting 1 in 3 adults.  30% of a GP’s appointments are related to musculoskeletal conditions.  

Cortisone (steroid) injections are commonly used in the treatment of persistent joint and soft tissue related problems. Steroid injections can be performed in two formats: in blind form which is via anatomical landmarks to guide placement a needle or with ultrasound image guidance.

There is significant research which demonstrates that ultrasound-guided injections give better outcomes, such as improved levels of pain relief and improve the post-injection function of the injected area, compared with injections that are done without ultrasound.

There is also growing evidence that guiding the injection reduces the risk of trauma to local tissues or misplacement of the needle and/or the injection substance. This improves the safety of the injection and reduces the risk of adverse effects. 

Unlike ultrasound-guided injections, you cannot guarantee the accuracy and precise location of anatomy guided injection. Many patients find ultrasound-guided injections to be more comfortable, It will also reduce the chances of having multiple unnecessary injections.

Research shows that adults with joint-related pain who underwent image-guided ultrasound injections had statistically significantly greater improvement in pain and function at 6 weeks after injection.

There are no medical reasons why someone cannot have an ultrasound scan. It provides a unique opportunity to both diagnose and treat in one session, and It is the image of choice when assessing musculoskeletal conditions. The clinical specialists at the Northwood MSK clinic can give you a diagnosis, ultrasound-guided intervention and rehabilitation programme to get you back on the road to recovery much faster than standalone treatments.

We have helped many patients who have struggled with ongoing injuries, who have not progressed with physiotherapy or anatomy guided or blind injections, return to leading a full and pain-free life. Access to diagnostic ultrasound and ultrasound-guided interventions does not require a referral from your doctor and is relatively inexpensive when compared to MRI’s and hospital-based treatments. 

For more information on how diagnostic ultrasound and ultrasound-guided interventions can benefit you please feel free to contact the team at the Northwood practice or email info@mskphysioclinc.co.uk

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