Advancements in medical technology have added great convenience and accuracy to diagnosing and treating many different types of orthopedic injuries and disease. Case in point: ultrasound-guided injections.
In most cases, ultrasound-guided injections are used to deliver medication such as painkillers, anti-inflammatories, or joint lubricant (hyaluronic acid) into a very specific areas to relieve a patient’s symptoms. Many of these injections occur at common sites of injury such as at joints like the knee, hip, or shoulder, and may be part of a more comprehensive pain management plan.
Advantages of Ultrasound
Ultrasound is used to guide the injection to the ideal spot before pushing the medication into the target area. This permits clinicians to deliver treatment with pinpoint accuracy.
Many imaging tools could be used to guide an injection, but ultrasound has several distinct advantages, the primary one being that it uses no radiation. Instead, ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the body’s internal structures and tissue.
Ultrasound allows your doctor to “see” the target site in real time, as the needle enters the area, helping to ensure delivery of medication to the appropriate area – while avoiding nerves, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue near the target tissue, which can help avoid complications from the procedure.
Ultrasound is small, portable, and allows for easy use in conjunction with an injection. In addition, ultrasound provides a better image than other imaging tools. Ultrasound can reveal fluid buildup that may be causing joint problems and help assist your doctor in draining the fluid. Also, use of ultrasound is medical care is much less expensive for patients than other types of imaging.
Purpose of Joint Injections
Joint injections can serve dual purposes: to alleviate your symptoms such as pain and inflammation – as well as confirming a medical diagnosis. That is, if the injection works to reduce your pain, it can confirm the nature and precise location of injury within the joint.
Most often, joint injections are a temporary measure used to reduce inflammation in an injured joint. Doing so may allow you to carry out other components of a pain management plan, such as physical therapy. Joint injections may be repeated several months apart, but do not address the underlying condition or cause of your pain and swelling.