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Ultrasound vs. MSK Ultrasound: What’s the Difference?

January 15, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — newengland @ 2:39 pm
MSK ultrasound being used on patient’s knee

When you hear the word “ultrasound,” you might think of the common diagnostic test that is used to assess the health of an unborn child during pregnancy. While that is one of the best-known applications of ultrasound technology, it can be used in a variety of other ways. For example, you may at some point find yourself in need of a musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound. What is the difference between MSK ultrasounds and other applications of ultrasound technology? This blog post provides some fascinating information.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound technology emits waves of sound that are beyond the range of human hearing. The waves interact differently with different types of tissue within the human body, so they can create a “map” of what is happening that allows doctors to diagnose a range of health issues.

In addition to diagnostic ultrasound, there is also therapeutic ultrasound, where sound waves can be used to treat certain medical conditions.

MSK Ultrasound vs. Other Types of Ultrasound

As its name implies, diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound is used to diagnose musculoskeletal conditions. For example, a physician may use it to look for issues like trapped nerves, tendon and ligament injuries, strained muscles, and joint swelling. It can also be used to help doctors pinpoint exactly where to inject medications so they have optimum effect.

In other settings, ultrasound technology might be used to:

  • Monitor the health of a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
  • Look for signs of gallbladder disease.
  • Evaluate blood flow.
  • Examine breast lumps.
  • Look for reproductive health conditions.
  • Assess metabolic bone disease.

Whereas some uses of ultrasound technology require the insertion of a probe into the human body, MSK ultrasound does not involve that. It can carry out its purpose when it is used on the skin, making it a comfortable diagnostic process.

What to Expect with MSK Ultrasound

If your doctor recommends that you undergo an MSK ultrasound, you have nothing to be nervous about. Very little preparation is needed. For example, you might just need to wear loose clothing. During the test, you may be asked to move the part of your body that is being examined so the ultrasound can capture pictures of your joints/limbs in motion. Beyond that, all you may need to do is wait for your doctor to give you feedback on what they discover. It’s that easy!

MSK ultrasound is a remarkable diagnostic tool for almost anyone who is suffering from musculoskeletal aches and pains!

Meet the Practice

Dr. Paul Tortland is an experienced physician, and he is recognized as a leader in both regenerative medicine and musculoskeletal ultrasound. In fact, our team often teaches other doctors how to use MSK ultrasound technology! If you believe that this service could help you get on the path to healing, we would be pleased to consult with you. Contact the New England Stem Cell Institute at 860-430-2821.

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