Ultra-Sound Scan

Many of you will know about ultra-sound scans (USS) because its the way medics check on babies as they develop in the womb. What you may not know is that USS are becoming very useful in making a diagnosis in shoulder problems.

There are quite a few benefits of an USS: there is no radiation as in an x-ray or CT scan and you don’t have to worry about claustrophobia like with an MRI scan.

The best thing about it though is that it is dynamic scan. That means the radiologist will be able to move your shoulder around whilst doing the scan so they can get it into the position that actually makes your shoulder painful and see what is rubbing or catching or torn. They can also do steroid injections into specific areas or areas that are more difficult to inject into such as along the biceps tendon or into the ball and socket joint.

The most important thing with an USS scan is the experience of the radiologist and, to a lesser but still quite relevant extent, the quality of the equipment. There are only a few specially trained and experienced shoulder scanning radiologists around – it is not something that every radiologist can do – so it can mean traveling to get to the best person or waiting a bit for the scan. In the last few years the quality of the scanners has improved dramatically so the probes they use are much more sensitive and the images are very much better.

Ultra-Sound Scan

I am using USS more and more frequently (often in conjunction with an initial set of x-rays) so don’t be surprised if I send you for an USS when you may have been expecting an MRI scan.