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Don’t Want to Wait for an MRI? With Ultrasound for Soft Tissue Injuries, You Don’t Have to Any Longer!

August 15, 2022

About 628,000 ligament sprains happen every year, which leaves approximately 628,000 people waiting to schedule an MRI for a proper diagnosis. That doesn’t include all of the muscle strains and other soft tissue injuries also awaiting imaging for an accurate diagnosis. That’s a whole lot of waiting! But with ultrasound for soft tissue injuries, an alternative to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the wait is over.

Ultrasound is now being used as a diagnostic tool for sprains, strains, stress injuries including bursitis and tendonitis, and many other common musculoskeletal conditions. It can also provide more information to help rule out suspected culprits of your pain before further testing is done. One of the main advantages of ultrasound is that Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC) offices have them on hand and can use them during a patient’s urgent care visit without having to schedule an additional appointment and without having to go to a separate imaging facility.

It’s Not Just the Convenience and Accessibility; There Are Many More Benefits of Ultrasound Over MRI

The advantages of ultrasound compared to MRI include:

  • Comfort: For patients who are claustrophobic and / or have a hard time keeping the affected area perfectly still due to pain, an ultrasound is a useful way to avoid the discomfort many associate with an MRI.
  • Cost: Ultrasound imaging is often less expensive than MRI imaging, and in today’s economic climate, this value cannot be understated for both patients and practices.
  • Immediate Results: In many cases, your orthopedic specialist will perform your ultrasound during your initial visit and then give you results right away with no wait. That means treatment can begin immediately, which could prove essential to proper healing, as delayed treatment can worsen your condition or even potentially result in non-reversible damage.
  • Safety: While it is one of the safest imaging techniques, an MRI is not without risk for certain patients. Due to the strong magnets used during the procedure, it is not recommended for patients with bone-growth stimulators, certain intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs), cochlear implants, neurostimulators, pacemakers, and other medical devices or those who are pregnant. Additionally, contrast dye that may be used during an MRI carries a risk of allergic reaction for some patients. However, an ultrasound for soft tissue injuries never needs contrast.
  • Speed: Not only do you not have to wait to schedule an MRI until a radiologist or radiology tech is available, but you don’t have to spend up to an hour or longer during the actual scan. A diagnostic ultrasound can often be completed for soft tissue injuries in under 30 minutes.

Ultrasound or MRI: Is the Former Always Better?

Though it can be used as a replacement for an MRI, the two can be used cooperatively. Ultrasound results may indicate that there is need for further testing through an MRI. This may happen because the ultrasound has shown the injury needs surgical repair, and an MRI is then necessary to give your surgeon a better look at the area. Also, ultrasounds only “see” soft tissues, so an MRI may be recommended if further damage such as a fracture is suspected.

For Comfort, Safety, and Peace of Mind, Choose DOC for an Ultrasound for Soft Tissue Injuries

No one wants to wait for a diagnosis after an injury, especially a parent with an injured child. For an accurate, quick diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries from sport, car accidents, trip / slip-and-fall accidents or other mishap, turn to the expert care from the providers at DOC!

With evening and weekend hours available at our walk-in urgent orthopedic care clinic, where we offer cutting-edge diagnostics including ultrasound imaging, we’re here for you when you need us. Contact us today at 855-898-2655 or schedule an appointment online now! For more information on the cost of care, click here.

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