Reviewed by Danielle Nixon (Radiology Manager) and Lisa Serevena (Quality Lead Diagnostic Radiology)
An MSK (musculoskeletal) ultrasound is used to examine your muscles, joints, tendons or ligaments.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a scan used to monitor and diagnose conditions in many parts of the body, without the use of radiation. An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the interior of the body.
How will I know if I need an MSK ultrasound?
An MSK ultrasound is ideal for looking at anything not blocked by bone or buried deep within your body. You may be referred for an MSK ultrasound to assess concerns with your muscles, joints, tendons or ligaments.
How can I book an MSK ultrasound?
To book an ultrasound, you will need a referral from a healthcare professional. If you have an outpatient consultation with a Nuffield Health consultant, they will refer you for a scan if clinically appropriate. You can also use a referral from your own GP or alternative healthcare professional, just email your referral to your chosen Nuffield Health hospital and a member of the team will call you back.
How should I prepare for an MSK ultrasound?
There are no specific preparation instructions for an MSK ultrasound. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove your clothing and jewellery for the scan. Everything will be explained to you before the examination begins.
What happens during an ultrasound?
Depending on the area to be scanned, you will be asked to get into a suitable position. A clear, cool gel is spread on the area to be scanned, and the probe is moved back and forth. The sound waves bounce off internal organs and are passed back through the probe to a computer. The computer turns these sound waves into highly detailed images in real time, shown on the monitor.
An ultrasound scan is painless, but depending on the type of ultrasound, there may be some slight discomfort. A consultant radiologist will perform the scan and a healthcare assistant will be in the room to support you and the consultant.
How long does an ultrasound take?
The procedure can take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the area being scanned.
How/when will I receive my results?
Your results will be verified by a Radiologist and sent to your referring healthcare professional within a week of your appointment. Times may vary for specialist examinations, so we recommend checking with the hospital team before you leave. Your referrer may recommend a follow-up appointment to discuss your results.
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