Some Interesting Facts About MSK Ultrasound

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Published: 11 Jan 2018      

If you’ve browsed the Sonographers Medical website, you may have noticed that the site hosts several musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound jobs. Commonly used to diagnose sports industries, MSK ultrasounds also offer some alternative diagnosis options for pregnant women and others who can’t undergo x-rays.

Here are a few facts about MSK ultrasounds that anybody searching for an MSK ultrasound job needs to know.

You Can Use Them Instead of X-Rays

Generally speaking, x-ray is the method of choice for examining somebody’s bones. However, the technique has several negatives. In addition to the radiation exposure, which requires technicians to calculate how much radiation the patient should undergo, you also can’t use x-rays to examine pregnant women.

MRI machines offer one solution. They don’t emit radiation, however, the presence of large magnets presents a problem. Any patients who have metal implants or pacemakers cannot undergo an MRI scan.

MSK ultrasound offers the perfect solution in these situations. Not only does it emit no radiation, but the magnets needed for MRI machines aren’t needed for MSK ultrasound. As a result, technicians use MSK ultrasound for those who can’t undergo the more common types of scans.

MSK Ultrasound Produces Dynamic Imaging

Another drawback of both x-rays and MRIs is that they can only produce a static image of the affected area. This is a particular problem in sports-related injuries. If the source of the pain isn’t obvious from the static image, an x-ray or MRI can’t shed any more light on the issue.

However, things are different with MSK ultrasound techniques. With this technique, you can actually see muscles and bones as they move. Take a dislocation as an example. With an MRI, it may appear as swelling around a joint, if it appears at all. With MSK ultrasound, you can actually see the joint in motion and understand exactly what’s going on with it. This leads to a more accurate diagnosis.

This real-time dynamic visualisation has other benefits. For example, technicians may be able to further pinpoint the source of a patient’s pain with a few small squeezes. These squeezes show up on the ultrasound, allowing technicians to find the source quickly.

Better Structural Analysis

No, we aren’t talking about construction here. Instead, we’re talking about the building blocks of the human body.

With an MRI or x-ray, the image typically only looks at a single part of the patient’s body, such as an arm or a leg. The static nature of the images also means that you need to carry out the procedure again, with the machines pointing at different areas, to track things like nerves and tendons throughout the body.

With MSK ultrasound, you can track such things dynamically, all in the same examination.

Take numbness in toes or fingers. Often, the issue arises due to a problem further up the limb. An x-ray or MRI won’t be able to highlight this problem in the same sitting, whereas you can use MSK ultrasound to track nerve clusters until you find the source of the patient’s issue.

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