At Arthroscopic Surgical Associates, our doctor uses ultrasound as a primary diagnostic and visualization exam for soft tissue conditions because of its convenience, safety and effectiveness. Ultrasound produces images of internal structures through the use of high-frequency sound waves, whose echoes are used to create moving and still images of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and other soft tissue.
Your doctor may perform ultrasound to determine the cause of chronic or acute pain. The images produced during this exam can be viewed in real time on a television monitor during the procedure.
Benefits of Ultrasound
Diagnostic ultrasound is a safe, painless and widely available procedure that can be performed in the doctor’s office with no associated preparations or downtime. It can be used to effectively visualize certain types of soft tissues that do not show up well during x-ray exams. The real-time images produced during an ultrasound exam also allow it to be used as guidance for surgical procedures if needed to ensure the most precise results.
There is no ionizing radiation used during the ultrasound procedure, making it safe for nearly all patients with no known risks.
The ultrasound procedure begins with the patient lying down on the examination table as a water-based gel is applied to the area on their body that will be observed. This gel allows consistent contact between the body and the transducer, free of any air pockets that could get in the way. The transducer is kept firmly against the skin and is moved back and forth across the area to allow for the most detailed observation possible. The whole procedure usually takes 30 minutes.
There is no discomfort associated with this procedure, although if the part of your body being observed has already been tender there may be some slight pressure against it. If a Doppler type ultrasound is used, you may actually hear the pulses of the device. There is no clinical risk inherent in ultrasonography as it uses no invasive methods, no ionizing radiation, and does not cause any health problems.