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Ultrasound in the Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Diseases

Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging technology used for the evaluation of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system. Growing evidence has shown that the technology is a reliable method for establishing an accurate diagnosis, playing a major role in disease monitoring, assessment of damage, and therapeutics.

As a dynamic study, ultrasound enables the user to see the target area in real-time. Due to the existing compact system solutions, the examination can be performed in the clinic, hospital, or even on the sports field, providing complete feedback for many MSK problems.

The technology is well accepted by the patients. Users are able to interact directly with patients by providing patient education and explaining the details of the treatment.

Clinical applications

As there are many applications of ultrasound in the MSK system, we have identified the main segments as being Rheumatology, Pain Management, and Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy.


The clinical status of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis is linked to the degree of synovial thickening and effusion. The detection of synovitis can be difficult and non-inflammatory conditions can mimic the features of inflammatory arthritis. Typical features such as bone erosions may also not be present in early stages. The use of ultrasound in the patient evaluation may therefore help to overcome some of these issues, allowing the user to establish the most suitable treatment for the patient.

The most common rheumatology diseases where ultrasound assessment is applicable are:

  • Synovitis
  • Erosion
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Crystal arthritis
  • Vasculitis
  • Enthesitis and bursitis

Pain Management

Ultrasound is the method of choice for diagnostics and therapeutic nerve blocks. It enables the user to visualize small nerves in real time without the need for other components.

Advanced technologies such as needle enhancement, wide field of view, elastography, and high-frequency probes allows the users to perform clinical procedures with confidence, resulting in a high success rate in relieving patient pain.

Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy

The three areas where athletes tend to suffer a high rate of injuries are tendons, muscles, and bones. As these injuries may happen on the field and require an immediate response regarding the severity of the injury, Esaote developed portable and advanced systems to address this need.

Quick on-site scanning enables the user to determine a reliable diagnosis. This assessment improves athletes’ performance and recovery, and reduces costs caused by unnecessary exams and treatments.

Advanced Technologies

Ultrasound imaging is evolving continuously in order to create tools that benefit the user and the patient. It's important to highlight some of the new key technologies and the reasoning behind their development.

Needle Enhancement

Understanding how important it is for clinicians to have tools that support and guide them through the ultrasound process and increase their confidence, Esaote developed technology that increases needle brightness by combining a dedicated image composition of a standard B-mode with a properly processed and steered image.

Panoramic View (VPan)

VPan technology enables the user to see an enlarged view of the region of interest. This feature combined with an unlimited acquisition length makes this technology perfect for assessing large lesions.

Elastography (ElaXto)

Elaxto technology highlights the soft and hard structures providing the tissue elasticity of the target region. It is a simple and fast exam that improves patient throughput and comfort and avoids the unnecessary superficial palpation of the target area. It's an excellent tool for diagnosis and especially for patient follow-up.

Microvascularization (microV)

microV detects tiny and slow-flow vessels without B-mode interferences (no noise related to hyperechoic structures) to represent the information related to flows that are not detectable with standard Doppler techniques.

Clinical Benefits

  • Amazing tool for diagnosis and patient follow-up.
  • Reliable and non-invasive technology.
  • Accuracy during intervention procedures due to real-time imaging.
  • Greater patient comfort.
  • Improved workflow and patient throughput.
  • Cost reduction and a good return on investment.

Technology and features are system/configuration dependent. Specifications subject to change without notice. Information might refer to products or modalities not yet approved in all countries. Product images are for illustrative purposes only. For further details, please contact your Esaote sales representative.

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