Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the body. An ultrasound scan is sometimes also called a sonograph.

When the sound waves are directed at your body, they are able to pass through liquid and soft tissues but not solid objects. When the ultrasound hits a dense or solid object, such as bone or tendons, it bounces back as an echo. Echoes of different strengths are reflected depending on the density of the object. These echoes are then translated by a computer into an image.

Ultrasound is painless and non-invasive. Because it uses sound waves, rather than radiation as in an X-ray, it is thought to be completely safe. Ultrasound is particularly good at providing images that would be harder to achieve with an X-ray such as the rotator cuff tendons. Ultrasound may also be used to guide diagnostic or therapeutic injection such as into the Acromioclavicular joint, calcific tendonitis or around tendons.

Photo by romaset/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by romaset/iStock / Getty Images

Ultrasound - guided injections

Ultrasound, (sometimes called a sonograph), uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the body. Mr. Cole often uses ultrasound when treating patients with injections of anti-inflammatory medicine and local anaesthetic. The image of the area produced by the ultrasound allows the radiologist to target the injection with greater accuracy than if he did not use the scanner.

Such ultrasound-guided injections are particularly useful when Mr. Cole needs to inject a specific, small area, such as the fluid-filled sac called the bursa, which is located between a flat bone on the top of the shoulder (called an acromion), and the rotator cuff tendons. It is also often used to treat calcific tendonitis

After having an anti-inflammatory injection, such as a steroid or hyaluronan, try to rest your shoulder for a few days, avoiding any strenuous activity. After this, you should be able to carry on life as usual.

For the first two days after your injection, you may feel increased discomfort or pain in your shoulder. This is normal. However, if you notice any swelling, redness or warmth around the injection site, or you feel generally unwell, please contact Mr. Cole.

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