Why Ultrasound-Guided Injections are More Accurate and Effective

Why Ultrasound-Guided Injections are More Accurate and Effective

by Stephanie Meadows

We have commonly heard of ultrasound technology being used to see a baby in a pregnant woman’s stomach. However, ultrasound is used for many different things nowadays, especially in the field of orthopedics. For orthopedic surgeons, ultrasound technology means being able to get a closer look inside the body, especially at the structures of joints within the body.

Orthopedists specialize in the care of the musculoskeletal system, meaning joints, ligaments, cartilage, muscle, tendon, and connective tissues. When a patient is in need of treatment, to get a better look inside a joint, the orthopedic surgeon uses a procedure called ultrasound-guided injections.

During the procedure, the doctor uses a cortisone and anesthetic filled needle, and inserts it into the injured area, while using an ultrasound machine. The ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, to create a live video feed image of the inside of a joint. Ultrasound is the technology, or the “eyes” if you will, for guiding the injection. The ultrasound technology allows the orthopedist to see the distinct spaces, or injured areas in a joint, for example, inside a shoulder or elbow, and uses the picture on the ultrasound screen, to guide the injection accurately and directly into the targeted area. Ultrasound-guided injections have various advantages over traditional injections including:

1.     More accuracy

2.     More effectiveness

3.     Less painful

A particular patient may need an injection into just one or two compartments within a joint. For example, the shoulder which consists of multiple spaces. Putting an injection into the wrong area decreases the chance that the injection will be helpful. 

In the past, injections were performed “blindly” by feeling the shoulder and making an educated guess as to where to place the injection. Today, the use of ultrasound guidance helps orthopedic surgeons see directly where they are placing the injection, getting a better point of view of the patient’s injured joint, and therefore, improving accuracy and providing better and faster pain relief from the injection itself.

Ultrasound Guided Injections can be used to treat a number of conditions: 

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Shoulder tendon tear or tendinitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Golfer’ elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome impacting the wrist
  • Neck and back pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Nerve injury

To learn more about ultrasound-guided injection, and how they are more effective in treating orthopedic conditions, call Powell & Jones Orthopedic Center at (205) 877-9191 to request an appointment, or request one online.