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Does using ultrasound for injections really make a difference?

Author: Dr. Daniel Savarino, DO

Many orthopedic and sports medicine practices are now starting to use ultrasound in their offices to administer their injections. At iOrtho The Orthopedic Institute we have 5 years of experience with ultrasound and have performed over 10,000 ultrasound guided injections. Many patients want to know why we use ultrasound and does it make a difference compared to the way we have injected for years?

There have been several studies performed to compare ultrasound guided injections vs landmark or “blind” injections. Studies comparing these two methods for both the knee and the shoulder showed that the group of patients that received the injections under ultrasound had much better relief of their pain then the group who received their injections without ultrasound guidance.

Why would this be true? Several studies have been performed to test the difference in accuracy of these two methods. One study in 2012 compared the use of blind vs ultrasound guided injections for the shoulder. The results showed that the same doctor was 20% more accurate with his injections when using ultrasound. This is because he was able to visualize the shoulder joint and guide the needle to the proper place.

So as you can see using ultrasound for injections does make a big difference. It allows the physician to be much more accurate with the needle which in turn provides the patient with much better pain relief.

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