Radiology : Why Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Why Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound images are typically used to help diagnose:

  • Bleeding or other fluid collections within the muscles, bursae and joints
  • Benign and malignant soft tissue tumors
  • Early changes of arthritis
  • Effusion (fluid) or synovial (lining of the joint) thickening of bursa, tendon sheaths and painful joints


  • Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
  • Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.
  • Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspiration.
  • Unlike the strong magnetic field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound is not affected by cardiac pacemakers, ferromagnetic implants, or fragments within the body. Ultrasound is also an excellent alternative to MRI for claustrophobic patients.
  • Ultrasound may actually have advantages over MRI in seeing tendons, ligaments, small joints, and muscles, and in dynamic evaluation of moving joints and tendons.