Toward a Consensus for Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography Education in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: A National Poll of Residency Directors

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Aug;98(8):715-724. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001195.


Objectives: The aims of the study were to evaluate integration of musculoskeletal ultrasonography education in physical medicine and rehabilitation training programs in 2014-2015, when the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee both recognized it as a fundamental component of physiatric practice, to identify common musculoskeletal ultrasonography components of physical medicine and rehabilitation residency curricula, and to identify common barriers to integration.

Design: Survey of 78 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited physical medicine and rehabilitation residency programs was conducted.

Results: The 2015 survey response rate was more than 50%, and respondents were representative of programs across the United States. Most programs (80%) reported teaching musculoskeletal ultrasonography, whereas a minority (20%) required mastery of ultrasonography skills for graduation. Ultrasonography curricula varied, although most programs agreed that the scope of resident training in physical medicine and rehabilitation should include diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasonography, especially for key joints (shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist, hip, and ankle) and nerves (median, ulnar, fibular, tibial, radial, and sciatic). Barriers to teaching included insufficient expertise of instructors, poor access to equipment, and lack of a structured curriculum.

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal ultrasonography has become a required component of physical medicine and rehabilitation residency training. Based on survey responses and expert recommendations, we propose a structure for musculoskeletal ultrasonography curricular standards and milestones for trainee competency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Consensus
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine / education*
  • Ultrasonography*
  • United States