Q&A: The Art & Business of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

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pavlov_100pxHealth Imaging News spoke with Helene Pavlov, MD, radiologist-in-chief, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), and professor of radiology and orthopedic surgery at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, about the New York City-based hospital’s use of ultrasound technology.

Q: One of your core diagnostic tools is ultrasound. How do you make the most of it as a diagnostic tool?

A: Ultrasound is extremely user dependent and requires experienced personnel and practitioners. The majority of our studies are done by radiologists who are sub-specialized with fellowship training in musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Q: What are the benefits of ultrasound-guided treatments?

A: It is extremely useful when conducting targeted injections and aspirations. We currently do examinations using fluoro or CT guidance but that usually requires the injection of contrast to be able to confirm where the needle is. Contrast is not needed with ultrasound. Ultrasound allows us to do guided aspirations of, for example, a ganglion cyst or calcific tendonitis, and go very specifically into the affected area and see that the needle is exactly where you want it to be. The aspirations can be done for patient relief, culture and other lab analysis. We also do therapeutic injections, which are typically done in a doctor’s office where a doctor will probe around and a needle will be placed into a “trigger point.”