Ultrasound of the knee
Ultrasound is emerging as a viable imaging modality in the diagnosis and assessment of the musculoskeletal system. Advantages of ultrasound include its easy availability and multiplanar capability, as well as economic advantages. Unlike magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound demonstrates the fibrillar microanatomy of tendons, ligaments and muscles, enhancing its diagnostic capability. The ability to compress, dynamically assess structures and compare easily with the contralateral side is advantageous. The patient’s exact point of clinical tenderness can be correlated with underlying anatomical structures and associated pathology. The main strength of knee ultrasound is the assessment of para-articular disease. The specific structures best suited for ultrasound assessment include tendons, muscles and ligaments, as well as periarticular soft tissue masses. Joint effusions, synovial thickening, bursal fluid collections, intra-articular loose bodies, ganglion cysts, ligament and tendons tears, tendonitis and occult fractures can be diagnosed. With experience, ultrasound is a time-efficient, economical imaging tool for assessment of the knee.
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