Category: Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
The spine gets the most attention at our clinic, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only area of the body we treat. Our knowledge of how body systems interact with one another and how treatments affect certain soft tissues also means that we can help patients recover when they suffer injuries to other common areas of pain, like in their hip, shoulder or knee. One of the more common non-operative treatments we offer is in the form of an ultrasound guided injection. Below, we take a closer look at why ultrasound is often used to guide injections, and the benefits the procedure offers compared to similar treatment options.
Why Choose Ultrasound Guided Injections
Ultrasound guided injections are often the preferred method for providing a corticosteroid or similar injection into a joint area for a few specific reasons.
- Can visualize the site – Ultrasound waves allow the doctor to view the needle and the location of the injection site in real time. This ensures that the needle navigates around key structures to avoid potential problems while also making sure the injection is released into the precise location.
- No radiation – Ultrasound isn’t the only device that can be used to help the surgeon release the injection in the precise location. A fluoroscopy is another type of procedure that allows for visualization, but it involves a real-time x-ray, which will expose the patient to radiation. The dose is very small and unlikely to produce any side effects, but for many patients, ultrasound is a preferred method considering it too allows for site visualization.
- Fluid visualization – Ultrasound can also better help the surgeon visualize fluids that may have accumulated in or around the joint compared to conventional radiographs. This can allow the surgeon to make other treatment determinations that may have been missed when using other injection administration techniques.
- Less Pain – Medical data over the years suggests that most patients report less pain during an ultrasound guided injection compared to a standard injection. Much of this likely has to do with soft tissue visualization, or at a minimum, the idea that the injection should hurt less because the surgeon can see the target and surrounding areas.
- Safety – Ultrasound guided injections have been used for more than two decades, and the safe procedure has only become safer as doctors find new ways to improve on established techniques. When it comes to injection safety, ultrasound guided injections are considered the standard.
While ultrasound guided injections provide many benefits for patient and provider, they are not the perfect solution for every ailment, and in most cases are best paired with an active treatment solution. After an injection, your doctor may recommend weeks of targeted strengthening or physical therapy to make the most of the benefits provided by the injection. Rarely will an injection alone solve the root issue, but it can be a great compliment to your total treatment plan.
For more information or to learn if an injection could help with your pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.