doctor performing an ultrasound

Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine in Lindenhurst offers a wide range of diagnostic and non-surgical treatment options for musculoskeletal problems. One of these effective options, used for both diagnostic and treatment purposes, is musculoskeletal ultrasound. Our accomplished physiatrists have specialized training in accurately diagnosing and healing musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction with this noninvasive method. We have used it successfully on patients of various ages with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.

If you reside in Lindenhurst, Amityville, Copiague, Babylon, Farmingdale, Massapequa, Deer Park, West Islip, Islip or Seaford, and are troubled by musculoskeletal pain in the joints or limbs due to arthritis, sports or car accident injuries or for other reasons, our doctors can help you heal. As physiatrists, we take a holistic and pragmatic approach, using both traditional and complementary methods to relieve your pain and restore your mobility and range of motion.

Understanding Musculoskeletal Ultrasound as a Diagnostic Method

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is an imaging technique differentiated from other types of diagnostic tests (X-rays, MRI and CT scans) by the fact that it uses sound waves to create images of soft tissue. In fact, musculoskeletal ultrasounds offer a number of benefits other imaging techniques do not.

What happens during the administration of musculoskeletal ultrasound?

When performing an ultrasound, the doctor applies lubricating jelly to the area to ensure that a handheld probe, known as a transducer, moves smoothly over the skin, avoiding any breaks in the imaging. When the transducer is moved over the skin, it sends small pulses of high-frequency (inaudible) sound waves into the body. 

As these sound waves travel into the body, they bounce off bones and organs, creating sounds that probe records. These sounds are used to create detailed images of the area. The images show structure and movements not only of internal organs, but even of blood flowing through blood vessels. Depending on the part of the body being examined, patients may be seated or lying down for the procedure or may be asked to change positions during the exam.

In most cases, ultrasound tests take only 15 to 30 minutes. Once the ultrasound is complete, the gel will be wiped off the patient’s skin and they can leave. There is no downtime required so the patient can immediately return to regular activities. There are no aftereffects of an ultrasound.

What Ultrasound Helps to Diagnose in Lindenhurst

The technique assists us in diagnosing the following:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Tears in tendons or ligaments (e.g. rotator cuff injuries)
  • Entrapped (pinched) nerves, such as in carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Ganglion cysts
  • Benign and malignant soft tissue tumors
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Because musculoskeletal ultrasound is extremely sensitive, it helps us to identify such abnormalities as synovial cysts, stretched and torn ligaments, and the inflamed joints common to rheumatoid arthritis.

When Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Is Used as a Treatment in Lindenhurst

Since the images produced by this technique are so accurate and the procedure is easy and painless, musculoskeletal ultrasound can be used effectively to guide injections of corticosteroids and analgesics to reduce pain and inflammation. Just as fluoroscopic guidance is used for ensuring the accuracy of spinal injections, musculoskeletal ultrasound is used to pinpoint locations of injections into joints, muscles, and surrounding tissues.

The Advantages of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Over Other Imaging Techniques

Musculoskeletal ultrasound offers many advantages over other imaging modalities, since it is: 

  • Noninvasive
  • Almost entirely painless
  • Widely available and easy to use
  • Extremely safe, using no radiation or dye
  • Much less expensive than MRI and CT scans
  • Able to provide a clear picture of soft tissues (unlike X-rays)
  • Able to show real-time images so it can be used to guide injection administration
  • An excellent alternative to MRI scans for claustrophobic patients 
  • Able to be used safely on patients who pacemakers and other implants that may be adversely affected by the strong magnetic field of MRI scans
  • Does not require patients to hold extremely like other imaging tests so it can be successful on babies and small children without sedation
  • Provides greater clarity of cartilage images than other methods

It should be noted, however, that musculoskeletal ultrasound is not always the best option. For example, it is not an effective way to diagnose whiplash. Also, since sound waves penetrate less deeply than X-rays, ultrasound does not provide clear pictures of deep structures in the body. This is particularly true in obese patients.

Contact Our Experienced Lindenhurst Physiatrists Today 

The sooner you make an appointment in our Lindenhurst office, the sooner you will feel the relief of being diagnosed and treated by doctors dedicated to making you feel better. Whether or not our doctors determine that musculoskeletal ultrasound is the best tool for your diagnosis and treatment, you will find them to be as empathic as they are skilled. Contact us now to find out the cause of your distress and to begin healing.