Ultrasound / MRI
Ultrasound and mri can be used to back up clinical testing by providing a picture of the tissue inside which can not normally be seen.
Musculoskeletal ultrasound can be done in clinic as part of an assessment within a normal 90 minute appointment.
MRI will need a referral to a different clinic and is considerably more expensive.
Each modality has pros and cons:
- Quick and easy to do
- Inexpensive, part of the normal assessment
- Can be done in clinic
- Can measure movement in tissues not just static picture
- Not good for spinal problems
- Can see through bone so can see things unseen by ultrasound
- Need referral to another clinic
- Much more expensive
- Static recumbant images, no movement can be measured
- Modality of choice for spinal complications
Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints throughout the body. It is used to help diagnose sprains, strains, tears and other soft tissue conditions. Ultrasound is safe, noninvasive and does not use ionizing radiation.
What is Ultrasound Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System?
Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Ultrasound images of the musculoskeletal system provide pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissue throughout the body.
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.
- foreign bodies in the soft tissues (such as splinters or glass).
What is an MRI scan?
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning is a medical investigation that uses an exceptionally strong magnet and radio frequency waves to generate an image of your body.
Why would I need an MRI scan?
An MRI scan is one of the most sophisticated diagnostic tools available to help a referring clinician understand the cause of your particular health issue.
What can be diagnosed by an MRI scan?
By scanning the relevant sector(s) of a patient’s body, an MRI scan can help to diagnose the following:
- most ailments of the brain, including tumours and dementias
- sports injuries
- musculoskeletal problems
- most spinal conditions/injuries
- vascular abnormalities
- female pelvic problems
- prostate problems
- some gastrointestinal tract conditions
- certain ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions
- soft tissue and bone pathology/conditions
Who can’t have an MRI scan?
Due to the powerful magnetic force involved in producing an MRI scan, certain individuals will not be scanned. You must not have an MRI scan if you have:
- a cardiac (heart) pacemaker
- certain clips in your head from brain operations, i.e. aneurysm clips
- a cochlear (ear) implant
- a metallic foreign body in your eye
- had surgery in the last 8 weeks
- a programmable shunt for hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain)
- if you are pregnant