Ultrasound imaging allows us to follow the progress of certain injuries live in our clinic so that you may visually see the differences achieved with treatment.
Please be aware that we do not provide ultrasound diagnosis as a separate service. We use a point of care system for our patients during treatment who are recovering from specific conditions. Should you need an ultrasound scan performed as a separate service please contact a radiology provider such as Auckland Radiology Group, Specialist Radiology Group, Horizon Radiology etc.
Colour doppler allows us to image fluid flow through your tissues. In relation to musculo-skeletal injuries this allows us to measure whether there is more than expected blood flow through a particular area, or perhaps fluid pooling. In a superficial area such as an ankle - fluid flow is easy to see with the naked eye. But deeper tissuess we need to scan in order to get an accurate idea. For example when there is a tear in a muscle or an inflammatory process going on in a tendon or ligament - the body will try to aid healing by rushing blood into the area.
Since we can measure this with colour doppler, we can evaluate how well the area is healing as we continue treatment. If an injury takes too long to heal - even though it may have been a minor injury, the body trys to grow blood vessels deeper into the injured area - but they tend to be of poor quality. For example in the Achilles, if the body grows too many blood vessels into it - the structural strength of the tendon is weakened. Colour doppler can help us diagnose the problem but also measure how effectively our treatment changes fluid flow through the area over time.
Elastography allows us to meausre how hard a tissue is. This is mostly useful when we measure certain muscle stiffness in comparison to the surrounding muscles. For example we can evaluate your shoulder - your superficial muscles (the first layer) is quite flexible - but the deeper layer is quite stiff - red on the image. This tends to increase the likelihood of tearing happening in the stiff muscle if a sudden movement is made which puts a large stretching force through it. So we can identify exactly which muscle - or part of a muscle is a problem, then after a few treatments we can compare it once more to the superficial layer and evaluate how much of an impact treatment, or your home based stretches are having.
Stiffness in a particular muscle can also lead to the overloading of other muscles because a stiff muscle is quite weak it cannot give you any power during a movement. This can lead to other muscles having to do more work which can lead to tendon inflammation, muscle strain, tearing or simply an inability to perform a particular exercise effectively. A typical example is lifting weights overhead - if your rotator cuff is not working correctly due to stiffness, the control and power over your lifting ability is quite low. So increasing rotator cuff flexibility translates into higher performance as it makes the role of your other muscles easier when placed under load.
Live ultrasound imaging allows us to image the quality of a certain tissue, it's fiber density and continuity - but it also allows us to evaluate how your tissue moves with respect to surrounding tissues as you move your joints or muscles.
Tendons can have defects, tears or areas of altered circulation which we can easily image as bright or dark areas. Some tendons also need to slide through a thin sleeve which envelopes them. If they get stuck - it can cause pain and problems with muscles which pull on them. Live imaging allows us to evaluate the quality of the tendon movement and intervene if needed.
Muscles are placed under a lot of strain with all the variety of activities we undertake. Sometimes simply due to overloading - such as in athletes - a muscle will tear. Other times due to consistently poor blood supply and poor tissue quality even with simple everyday activities a tear can take place. Tears can be a source of pain and diagnosing them helps elucidate where your pain comes from. Also as we conduct treatment we can measure the size of a tear and monitor its healing process.
Ligaments connect one bone to another. When we sprain an ankle, we usually overload ligaments. When they are strained they can become lax. With ultrasound imaging we can identify whether and how much strain, swelling or tearing there is. Live imaging allows us to evaluate your joint movement as well and see how much laxity is present and thereby gauge the severity of your injury.
Calcifications tend to form in areas where there is a long period of inflammation. The body tries to strengthen the area by calcifying it. This can cause problems becuase the calcification is in the middle of a softer area and can squish the soft tissue between the calcification and another structure. Ultrasound imaging also allows us to target the calcification more accurately during treatment.