Scanning with ultrasound (high frequency) waves produces reflections from boundaries between organs and surrounding fluid, and between regions of differing tissue density. These allow our highly trained and experienced operators to ‘see into’ structures like tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints and vessels to make very accurate assessments of problems. The procedure is safe, painless and non-invasive.
Good quality plain X rays are fundamental in bone and joint assessment. They’re quick to perform and are excellent at visualising bones in one plane, making them a useful screening tool for arthritis or when looking for fractures/breaks. However, they are not good at visualising soft tissues or cartilage, so are often used in conjunction with other imaging.
Modern scanners are able to take multiple X-rays in a very short space of time using extremely low levels of radiation. The images of bones and joints that result, are very detailed and in multiple planes. This ‘3D’ picture allows highly detailed surgical planning, for example prior to keyhole surgery.