If you break a bone, the injury is obvious. But, what about when you have a minor tear or damaged nerve? Such injuries are more difficult to diagnose.

X-rays detect broken bones, but doctors can see more with a musculoskeletal ultrasound. This type of procedure reveals soft tissue, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

So, what should you expect if your doctor recommends this procedure? Read on to discover everything you should know going into a musculoskeletal ultrasound.

1. Why Your Doctor Recommended the Procedure

You went to the doctor for a reason. You’re likely experiencing pain, and you want your doctor to determine the cause.

You can expect your doctor to recommend this type of procedure when:

  • You’re experiencing shoulder or foot pain
  • You have a symptomatic joint or muscle
  • The patient has a pacemaker and can’t have an MRI
  • The patient feels uncomfortable with an MRI

Your doctor hopes to detect abnormal masses, tissues, organs, or vessels. The results should make this condition obvious, and it’ll help with your diagnosis.

2. How to Prepare

The most nerve-wracking part of a medical procedure is preparing for it. If your doctor ordered a musculoskeletal ultrasound, then you’re in luck.

All you’ll need to do is wear loose clothing and expect to get adorned in a hospital gown. You won’t have to do anything else!

3. What to Expect During and After

So, how does the procedure work? First, a transducer and gel will get placed on your skin. It may feel a little cold and uncomfortable at first.

Once the gel is on, the doctor will begin scanning. Sound waves will go from the probe, through the gel, and into your body. The sounds that bounce back get collected by a computer.

The computer takes the data and turns it into an easy-to-read image for doctors.

Within a few minutes, you’ll be able to wipe away the gel. The gel won’t stain your body or clothes. There are no lasting effects, so you can resume normal activity right away.

4. Learn About the Benefits

Now that you know what to expect, you’ll want to know the advantages of getting this test done.

Check out these benefits of a musculoskeletal ultrasound:

  • It’s as effective as MRIs
  • Less expensive
  • More patient mobility during the procedure
  • Increased patient comfort (non-invasive)
  • Fast and easy to perform
  • Results are clear and accurate
  • Safe (no radiation concerns)

Thee advantages are worth considering. Even better, this type of procedure is very low-risk. There are no known harmful side-effects of getting this procedure.

5. The Results of Your Procedure

Your results will show a clear picture of your muscles, joints, nerves, and soft tissues. A radiologist and your doctor will analyze the results and use them to make a diagnosis.

Preparing for Your Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

A musculoskeletal ultrasound can reveal a sprain, tear, strain, or another condition. While the name sounds complicated, the procedure is not. You should be in and out of your appointment within the hour.

Athletes are prone to the types of injuries that this procedure reveals. Don’t hesitate if your doctor recommends this procedure.

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