Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to image bony structures and soft tissues such as muscle, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. It is important to note that ultrasound does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation. The sound waves are completely harmless to the human body. Ultrasound can also use power Doppler technology to detect and measure the amount of inflammation within a joint or tendon which can be used to help aid in a diagnosis as well as the response to treatment over time.
In many ways, ultrasound has several key advantages over other imaging methods including: no ionizing radiation exposure, lower cost, and ability to perform dynamic examinations, ability to perform examinations during the office visit, better patient comfort, more accurate procedures and essentially no contraindications. It is important to note that not all rheumatologists and sports medicine physicians utilize ultrasound in their daily clinic. Dr. Lloyd has integrated musculoskeletal ultrasound into his practice to facilitate a higher level of patient care. Dr. Lloyd performs same day ultrasound during most patient visits with musculoskeletal complaints. Dr. Lloyd has undertaken additional training to master the ultrasound techniques necessary to make accurate diagnoses and precise procedures. With the ability to make a same day diagnoses, Dr. Lloyd can save his patients time and money and get them on the right treatment path sooner. He also uses ultrasound for imaging guidance during procedures.
Traditionally, joint injections have been and are still done today without imaging guidance. However, studies have been done that show that even very experienced clinicians will miss the target up to 50% of the time when done without the use of imaging guidance. Therefore, it is important to find a physician who is willing to take the extra time to using imaging guidance for the procedure.