Introduction to Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

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Dr. Trever Wilkins, DO
Medical Director

What is a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

MSK Ultrasound is a painless and powerful tool to give you real-time images of muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and cartilage throughout your body using sound waves. It is used to help diagnose strains, tears, sprains, trapped nerves, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. This ultrasound is noninvasive and safe, without using ionizing radiation.

What are some common used of a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

MSK images help diagnose the following:

-tendon tears or tendonitis

-muscle tears, masses, and fluid collections

-inflammation or fluid within the joints and bursae

-ligament sprains or tears

-early changes of rheumatoid arthritis

-carpal tunnel and other nerve entrapments

-benign and malignant soft tissue tumors

-ganglion cysts


-foreign bodies in soft tissues (splinters or glass)

What does a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound look like?

MSK Ultrasounds consist of three parts- a computer console, a video monitor, and an attached transducer. The transducer is a small hand-held device that sends out sound waves into the body and listens for the returning echoes. This is similar to how boats and submarines use sonar. We will first apply gel to the area that will be examined and place the transducer there. The image is instantly visible on the video monitor. Based on the amplitude, frequency, and time it takes for the ultrasound signal to return to the transducer, the computer creates the image. It also considers what type of body structure and/or tissue the sound is traveling through.

Why would I want a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound instead of an X-ray or MRI?

-MSK ultrasounds are extremely safe and do not use radiation

-They are easy to use

-They give clear pictures of soft tissue that do not show up well on x-ray images

-They provide real-time imaging

-They are a great tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures

-Patients with pacemakers and other types of metallic implants in their body can safely receive MSK ultrasound images

-It is a good alternative to an MRI for claustrophobic patients

-They provide greater internal detail when assessing soft tissue structures such as tendons and nerves

-They can show the movement of soft tissue structures such as tendons or joints

Overall, Musculoskeletal Ultrasounds give a much more specific and accurate look into your target areas, so you can begin your healing process as soon as possible.

Trusted Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Practitioners in Eastern Arizona

Find the infusion that’s best for you with the help of friendly medical professionals. Optimize You hosts some of the best MSK Ultrasound practitioners in Arizona.

If you’re curious about MSK Ultrasound, we recommend you book an appointment with our experts. That way, you can gain in-depth knowledge about the practice and feel comfortable getting a procedure simultaneously. Education and knowledge are part of the process toward becoming a healthier you.

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