Benefits of musculoskeletal ultrasound

Brett Kindle, M.D., CAQSM, RMSK
Non-Surgical Sports MedicineAndrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
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 Q: Talk about the different kinds of diagnostic imaging modalities and when musculoskeletal ultrasound would be appropriate.
Brett Kindle, M.D., CAQSM, RMSK: So the most common types of imaging modalities in medicine are X-ray, diagnostic ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a computerized tomography (CT) scan. These are all imaging modalities that we utilize as physicians in addition to our physical exam to make a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound is the use of an ultrasound machine to look through the skin at the soft tissues underlying, and it helps me as a physician diagnose various musculoskeletal conditions. It gives me the ability to essentially look through the skin at the anatomy and the injured area and actually make a more accurate diagnosis in addition to the physical exam.
 Q: Talk about the dynamic ability to interact with patients in real time while using musculoskeletal ultrasound.
Brett Kindle, M.D., CAQSM, RMSK: One of the beauties about musculoskeletal ultrasound is that I can use it at the point of care during the appointment to evaluate the patient as an extension of my musculoskeletal exam. I'm able to dynamically interact with the patient and stress the injured area or the painful area and confirm that that is the paint painful structure and/or injured structure and how severe that injury may be by looking directly at it through the skin. This is something that you cannot do with other imaging modalities very easily. These other imaging modalities including X-ray, CT and MRI are static imaging, and this means that the patient is in a still position throughout the imaging course. However, with musculoskeletal ultrasound, we can dynamically look at the tissues and stress the area and video those things to see how the tissues are behaving in the setting of an injury or a painful process.
 Q: Talk about the cost impact of musculoskeletal ultrasound and the ease of scheduling.
Brett Kindle, M.D., CAQSM, RMSK: Another great advantage of musculoskeletal ultrasound is that it is exponentially cheaper than most other imaging modalities. This oftentimes is able to save a patient getting a more expensive imaging tests that may not be necessary. I do think it is very important to understand that other imaging modalities certainly serve a role and we oftentimes will obtain an MRI and or a CT scan prior to a surgical intervention if that's warranted based off the diagnosis with the ultrasound.


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