Clinical evidence and research support using ultrasound as the first diagnostic test for numerous musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Diagnostic ultrasound offers a number of important advantages compared to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in terms of safety and effectiveness. Diagnostic ultrasound is noninvasive and offers real-time imaging, allowing for examinations of structures at rest and in motion. This ability to capture the movement of musculoskeletal components differentiates it from other imaging modalities and can permit more accurate diagnoses.

Other advantages for patients include its portability, which allows for point-of-care application and interpretation. The use of such imaging modalities as CT and MRI instead of lower-cost alternatives, such as ultrasound, do not ensure better outcomes but do increase the cost to the healthcare system and the cost to patients.

How Does It Work?

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Ultrasound is a first-tier diagnostic tool to evaluate musculoskeletal condition. Safe and painless it produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image.