Ultrasound Guided Injections

Ultrasound is a common imaging technique that employs high frequency sound waves to create images of organs and other internal structures of the body. These images provide valuable information of underlying pathology of the tissues and assists with diagnosis and planning the treatment of a particular condition. Ultrasound provides a clear view of the organs, tendons, muscles or joints and any associated disorders.

An ultrasound-guided injection is a minimally invasive procedure used for treating various musculoskeletal painful conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis and neuritis or to perform cyst aspiration.

Ultrasound imaging helps guide the placement of needles for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Injection of a pain medication in combination with a local anaesthetic directly to the site of injury helps to relieve pain. The advanced imaging of ultrasound provides high resolution images that enable the physician to precisely locate the injections deep into the target tissue without harming surrounding tissues.

Advantages of Ultrasound Guided Injections

The advantages of the ultrasound imaging compared to other techniques include the following:

  • No patient exposure to ionising radiation
  • Able to assess tendons, ligaments and muscles under high resolution.
  • Provides direct visualisation of the area being treated
  • Ensures accurate placement of the needle to targeted areas

Procedure for Ultrasound-guided Injection

The procedure is used for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes. Anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids and hyaluronans are the most commonly used medications to relieve pain, inflammation and swelling or to stimulate synovial fluid production to improve lubrication.

During an ultrasound guided injection, you will be asked to lie or sit down on a table depending on the site of the injection. A clear water based conducting gel is applied over the skin to assist with transmission of the sound waves. Your doctor moves a handheld probe, called a transducer, over the targeted area. The transducer emits sound waves and detects the rebound echoes from the tissue. Images are created from these sound waves and can be viewed on the video display screen attached to the scanner. The waves provide a clear view of the targeted area and helps your doctor locate the correct site for injection. The needle is then inserted through the skin to reach the targeted location. If there are no complications, you can resume normal activities immediately after the completion of the procedure.

Risks Associated with Ultrasound Injections

Ultrasound guided injections are relatively safe and painless procedures. Some of the associated complications include bleeding at the site of insertion and injury to adjacent structures.


Pain Management Specialists