Advances and utility of diagnostic ultrasound in musculoskeletal medicine

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Mar;1(1):24-31. doi: 10.1007/s12178-007-9002-3.


Musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) can serve as an excellent imaging modality for the musculoskeletal clinician. Although MRI is more commonly ordered in the United States for musculoskeletal problems, both of these imaging modalities have advantages and disadvantages and can be viewed as complementary rather than adversarial. For diagnostic US, relative recent advances in technology have improved ultrasound's ability to diagnose a myriad of musculoskeletal problems with enhanced resolution. The structures most commonly imaged with diagnostic musculoskeletal US, include tendon, muscle, nerve, joint, and some osseous pathology. This brief review article will discuss the role of US in imaging various common musculoskeletal disorders and will highlight, where appropriate, how recent technological advances have improved this imaging modality in musculoskeletal medicine. Additionally, clinicians practicing musculoskeletal medicine should be aware of the ability as well as limitations of this unique imaging modality and become familiar with conditions where US may be more advantageous than MRI.