Ultrasound Gaining Acceptance in Diagnosing Shoulder ProblemsA wide variety of tools are available to a physician to determine the extent of a serious shoulder injury. This is especially true for injuries to the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles consist of a small group of four muscles surrounding the shoulder. These muscles aren't responsible for forceful movements. Instead, they guide the movements of the shoulder.
High-resolution ultrasound has recently become popular as a tool to help diagnose the extent of tears to the rotator cuff following shoulder injury. This recent study determined that ultrasound is a very effective way to help diagnose the extent of rotator cuff tears. In fact, with complete tears to the rotator cuff, ultrasound accurately diagnosed the problem 100% of the time. Ultrasound also helped correctly identify tears to the biceps tendon approximately 60% of the time and shoulder dislocations over 90% of the time.
Doctors may still try conservative measures such as medication, physical therapy, and time to help heal a shoulder injury. But ultrasound has been proven a very effective tool to help doctors diagnose the nature and extent of shoulder injuries, especially rotator cuff tears.
Sharlene A. Teefey, MD, et al. Ultrasonography of the Rotator Cuff. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2000. Vol. 82-A. No. 4. Pp. 498-504.
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