Ultrasound, otherwise known as sonography, provides real time images of internal body structures such as bursas, tendon sheaths, and joint spaces. This information allows a targeted injection into a specific anatomical location to precisely administer the medication.
What do ultrasound-guided injections involve?
As with other imaging procedures, ultrasound does not expose patients to radiation and as such is the quickest and safest way to administer guided injections in real time.
An ultrasound probe is placed on the skin, the use of gel between the footprint of the probe and the skin is needed to allow the ultrasound waves to produce an image of the structures below. Once the exact anatomical structure is visualised a needle is then entered through the skin and is carefully guided by the lives images on the screen.
What are the benefits?
The majority of injections can be safely and effectively carried out without the need for imaging by our team or specialised clinicians.
However ultrasound guided injections our usually indicated where the anatomical location is either very small, a long way from the surface of the skin or around sensitive structures such as major blood vessels and nerves. Examples include the small joints of the hands and feet, or deep structures such as the hip joint.
Ultrasound also allows our service to offer interventions that can be highly effective for certain common musculoskeletal conditions that would not be possible without imaging. Such as shoulder hydro-distension for frozen shoulder and barbotage for patients with large calcific deposits in their tendons.
Are there any risks?
On the whole injections are very safe when administered appropriately. Our clinicians have extensive training and experience in delivering these interventions, and carry out hundreds of these procedures every year.
What happens after an ultrasound-guided injection?
We typically advise a period of relative rest for 72 hours after the procedure. The only exception would be following a hydro-distension where we would encourage you to get the shoulder moving immediately. You should follow the rehabilitation exercises advised by your physiotherapist after this initial period.
We provide the necessary information for patients to contact our service easily and quickly should they have any questions or concerns.