1. What is an ultrasound guided injection?
An Ultrasound Guided Injection is used administer medication to treat an assortment of conditions and reduce pain. This is a relatively new technology in the orthopedic field, but has gained a lot of interest for a number of reasons. The current literature proves that ultrasound guided injections are far superior to “blind” injections in regards to the accuracy of the needle placement. This is very important if the physician is trying to avoid more painful or dangerous areas, or if the physician wants to direct the treatment to a very specific area. In addition the ultrasound allows the physician to inject structures that would not normally be possible to hit “blindly” such as nerves, cysts, tendons, and fluid collections. These injections allow the physician to pinpoint the exact location of pain with precision. This helps increase the effectiveness of treatment and allows for the use of a thinner, less painful needle. These procedures do not require anesthesia, and there is no radiation from the ultrasound machine.
2. What the benefits of receiving an ultrasound guided injection?
- There is NO RADIATION exposure to the patient. Unlike Fluoroscopy or CT guided injections, ultrasound does not emit any radiation that can be harmful to a patient. You should ask your provider what type of guidance they will be using during your injection, and if it gives off radiation.
- Ultrasound Guided injections are nearly 100% accurate. There have been numerous studies that show physicians to be anywhere from 60-80% accurate with “blind” injections. When you need pain relief and positive results, it does make a difference how accurate the injection is. Don’t settle for 60% when you can have 100%.
- Ultrasound injections generally hurt less and the injection goes much quicker than a “blind” injection.
- With the Ultrasound the patient is able to see the injection go directly to the targeted area.
- Ultrasound is fast and easy. You will not have to go to the hospital or have an hour appointment. This modality is provided at all of our locations. Generally you can be in and out of the injection room in 5-10 minutes with any injection.
3. What can be treated with ultrasound guided injections?
Ultrasound guided injections are considered an effective method to treat painful musculoskeletal symptoms. However, the procedure has also showed its effectiveness in relieving nerve impingement and inflammation of tendons, bones, and deep tissues. The following is a list of medical conditions currently treated with ultrasound guided injections.
- Pain from arthritis
- Pain from tendonitis
- Accurate targeting of a “problem area”
- Fluid or cyst removal
- Pain management prior to surgery
The multitude of benefits coupled with very few drawbacks make these special injections sought after in the sports medicine and orthopedic world.
4. Why should I go for ultrasound guided injections?
- A viable alternative to surgery for the treatment of many painful conditions
- Greater accuracy in injecting medications
- No radiation use
- Used as both diagnostic and treatment methods
- Improved quality of injections and assured effectiveness
- Higher precision ensures reduced risk of complications
- Best to treat musculoskeletal pain without harming surrounding tissues
- Minimally invasive and fast recovery
- Injection access to deeper, smaller, and tougher areas in the body
5. What are the different types of ultrasound guided injections?
There are different types of ultrasound guided injections used by doctors. These injections contain medications based on the condition to be treated and administered directly to the area of pain.
- Cortisone shots, a type of steroid injection used to relieve pain and inflammation
- Mixture of steroid and a local anesthetic to provide semi-permanent pain relief
- Anesthetic shots or numbing injections used for nerve blocks and pain relief
- Platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections used for prolotherapy or regenerative medication
- Lubrication injections for joints containing Hyaluronic Acid and similar elements
- Botox injection into muscle for pain relief
- Pain medication directly administered to the injured bone or tissue
6. How is an ultrasound guided injection administered?
The skin above the injured or pain spot is numbed using a local anesthesia. Needle and syringe are similar to those used in case of traditional injections. The ultrasound is pressed on the numbed skin to visualize muscles, tendons, bones, nerves, and soft tissues beneath.
Real-time image generated on the ultrasound monitor helps guide the path of the needle and access the exact location. During nerve blocks, a dye is injected prior to medication to double-check placement and ensure that the needle has reached the intended target.
7. How long does it take?
The injection procedure takes less than 30 minutes. However, it may take days or weeks before patients experience significant pain relief. Nerve blocks and corticosteroids start acting after two to three days. For prolotherapy, viscosupplementation, platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy, the impact is felt after a few days to a few weeks.
8. Do I need rest after ultrasound guided injections?
No. This is an outpatient procedure and very similar to traditional injections except the use of ultrasound and local anesthetic. You can go home as soon as the injection procedure is over. For nerve blocks, you can take rest for a day. Report to your doctor if there is any complication.
9. What is injected through ultrasound guided injections?
- Pain injections have numbing, anti-inflammatory, and pain relief medications.
- Steroid injections have cortisone or other steroids alone or mixed with a local anesthetic
- Numbing or blocking injections have only local anesthetics, such as lidocaine.
- Prolotherapy injections have platelet rich plasma or stem cells
- Lubrication injections have viscosupplements, such as Hyaluronic Acid
10. What are the side effects of ultrasound guided injections?
Injection site infection, inflammation, or irritation are uncommon after ultrasound guided injections. Common side effects include bruising and bleeding. Temporary soreness and pain may be apparent for few days post procedure. Specific side effects are dependent on the medication used during injection.