Ultrasound-assisted musculoskeletal procedures: A practical overview of current literature

World J Orthop. 2011 Jul 18;2(7):57-66. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v2.i7..


Traditionally performed by a small group of highly trained specialists, bedside sonographic procedures involving the musculoskeletal system are often delayed despite the critical need for timely diagnosis and treatment. Due to this limitation, a need evolved for more portability and accessibility to allow performance of emergent musculoskeletal procedures by adequately trained non-radiology personnel. The emergence of ultrasound-assisted bedside techniques and increased availability of portable sonography provided such an opportunity in select clinical scenarios. This review summarizes the current literature describing common ultrasound-based musculoskeletal procedures. In-depth discussion of each ultrasound procedure including pertinent technical details, indications and contraindications is provided. Despite the limited amount of prospective, randomized data in this area, a substantial body of observational and retrospective evidence suggests potential benefits from the use of musculoskeletal bedside sonography.

Keywords: Abscess drainage; Arthrocentesis; Articular injection; Fluid collection; Foreign body removal; Musculoskeletal ultrasound-guided procedures; Tendon injection.