Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Midday with Dr. Jon Zoltan: Diagnostic Ultrasound for Musculoskeletal Problems

Diagnostic Ultrasound for Musculoskeletal Problems

Everyone knows ultrasound is an imaging procedure that evaluates a mother’s fetus prior to birth. It is safe and valuable in evaluating the growing baby while still in the mother’s womb. 

Did you know this imaging technique has many other uses in medicine? With regard to bone, tendon, muscle, nerve and ligament problems, these structures can be identified and evaluated in the office at your first visit. Your doctor can accurately diagnose your condition without the need of exposing you to radiation. The procedure is painless and you do not have to make an additional appointment at another facility.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
Ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:
  • tendon tears, or tendinitis of the rotator cuff in the shoulder, Achilles tendon in the ankle and other tendons throughout the body.
  • muscle tears, masses or fluid collections.
  • ligament sprains or tears.
  • inflammation or fluid (effusions) within the bursae and joints.
  • early changes of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • benign and malignant soft tissue tumors.
  • ganglion cysts.
  • hernias.
  • foreign bodies in the soft tissues (such as splinters or glass)
  • dislocations of the hip in infants.
  • fluid in a painful hip joint in children.
  • neck muscle abnormalities in infants with torticollis (neck twisting).
  • soft tissue masses (lumps/bumps) in children.

How does the procedure work?
Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships and fishermen. When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces back, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves, it is possible to determine how far away the object is as well as the object's size, shape and consistency (whether the object is solid or filled with fluid).
In medicine, ultrasound is used to detect changes in appearance, size or contour of organs, tissues, and vessels or detect abnormal masses, such as tumors.
In an ultrasound examination, a transducer both sends the sound waves and receives the echoing waves. When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it directs small pulses of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off internal organs, fluids and tissues, the sensitive microphone in the transducer records tiny changes in the sound's pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. One or more frames of the moving pictures are typically captured as still images. Small loops of the moving real-time images may also be saved.

This diagnostic imaging is available at TOCA. Ask your TOCA physician if this procedure is right for you.

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