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Ultrasound images of the musculoskeletal system provide pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissue throughout the body.

 

The procedure

Ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:

  • tendon tears, such as tears of the rotator cuff in the shoulder or Achilles tendon in the ankle.
  • abnormalities of the muscles, such as tears and soft-tissue masses.
  • bleeding or other fluid collections within the muscles, bursae and joints.
  • small benign and malignant soft tissue tumors.
  • early changes of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

What are the limitations of Ultrasound Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System?

Ultrasound has difficulty penetrating bone and therefore can only see the outer surface of bony structures and not what lies within. For visualizing internal structure of bones or certain joints, other imaging modalities such as MRI are typically used.