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Ultrasound or MRI for your musculoskeletal problems?

What are the differences between an MSK Ultrasound and MRI scan?

Most people feel that an MRI scan must be superior to an Ultrasound scan because it is usually more expensive and the images obtained seem to be more elaborate.

However, the use and popularity of ultrasound imaging is becoming extremely popular in the management of musculoskeletal problems and there are a number of reasons for this.

It is non-invasive, easily accessible and cost effective when compare to MRI and also has the advantage of being able to be performed as part of a normal assessment.

In terms of many tendon and ligament injuries ultrasound is able to give more accurate information than any other modality. It is also very useful for assessing the dimensions of specific nerves (for example, the Median Nerve in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).

Additionally ultrasound is unique in that scanning occurs in real-time making it possible to discuss reproduction of symptoms with the patient, and to view dynamic images of the structures under examination.

Ultrasound also allows us to view inflammation and the process of ‘neovascularity’ which can be associated with tendon pain and damage.

Ultrasound also allows dynamic scanning with direct interaction between the operator and the patient, as well as allowing guided intervention to be performed at the same time…

Ultrasound Guided Injection

Research has demonstrated that even in the hands of specialists, only a minority of injections performed for musculoskeletal problems are done accurately. For example, it has been demonstrated that in the shoulder, only 29% of sub-acromial and 42% of intra-articular injections are accurately delivered when given without guidance.

For this reason injections performed under ultrasound imaging are becoming more popular and is the approach that we use in our clinic for some specific injections that have been more rigorously researched.

It is important to note that Ultrasound Guided Injection Therapy is currently a growing area of research and thus many injections are still performed using the traditional ‘palpation guided’ method. In any case your practitioner will be able to discuss the risks/benefits of the type of injection appropriate for you.

For more information about MSK Ultrasound and guided injections at the clinic please contact us directly.

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