The ultrasound examination of the musculoskeletal system is an important diagnostic method in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The advantages of this examination are its convenience, low cost, repeatability, dynamism, non-invasiveness and harmlessness. A high-quality examination is guaranteed mainly by the specialist’s skill and experience and by the device’s quality. There are no contraindications to ultrasound examinations.
The major technical shortcomings are the ultrasound’s inability to penetrate bones and its prominent reflection in joint prostheses or osteosyntheses where structures cannot be assessed.
We do not examine the spine because the vertebrae and nearby structures are difficult to discern by ultrasound.
Because of its advantages, ultrasound has become the method of choice for the initial diagnosis of disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
Tendons can have degenerative changes (tendinosis) with or without calcium crystals. We can establish different stages of tendon lacerations (partial, full) or the inflammation of tendon sheaths (tenosynovitis).
We can also detect injuries and changes of articular ligaments.
In a joint, we can demonstrate effusions, inflammatory changes, crystal depositions, surface cartilage erosion and ossein erosion.
We can assess soft tissue oedema (bursitis, haematomas, tumours).
We can visualise the consequences of injuries in the muscles (strains, contusions, lacerations).
We can visualise inflammatory changes or fractures on the bone surface in or outside the joints.
We follow standard protocols to examine individual parts of the body: the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist, the hip, the knee and the ankle.
It is difficult to diagnose damaged cartilage in a joint, injured cruciate ligaments in the knee and generally all those structures set deeply in the joint.
The examination of one joint or area takes from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on whether the injury or change is simple or more complex.
No preliminary preparations are needed for soft tissue examinations, which are painless.
Ultrasound examinations of the musculoskeletal system are carried out by our physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist (a physiatrist) in the Fiziatrija Clinic.
Ultrasound exams enable a more accurate and prompter course of the patient’s treatment and the prescription of the appropriate physiotherapy or rehabilitation.
Moreover, ultrasound is used to supervise therapeutic procedures (punctures, aspiration, injections of medication).
We also use ultrasound examinations to monitor and control the effects of therapy and treatment.
We use ultrasound to identify any pathological changes on the thyroid, parathyroid glands or lymph nodes.
We use ultrasound to identify the causes of pain in the abdomen, monitor the progress of disease and verify the effects of treatment. We also recommend it as a preventive examination to determine the condition of abdominal organs and identify any pathological changes in time.