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Introduction to Musculoskeletal Diagnostic Ultrasound: Examination of the Upper Limb

Lew, Henry L. MD, PhD; Chen, Carl P. C. MD; Wang, Tyng-Guey MD; Chew, Kelvin T. L. MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: April 2007 - Volume 86 - Issue 4 - pp 310-321
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31803839ac
Invited Review: Imaging

Lew HL, Chen CPC, Wang T-G, Chew KTL: Introduction to musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound: examination of the upper limb. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2007;86:310–321.

With recent advances in computer technology and equipment miniaturization, the clinical application of diagnostic ultrasonography (U/S) has spread across various medical specialties. Diagnostic U/S is attractive in terms of its noninvasiveness, lack of radiation, readiness of use, cost-effectiveness, and its ability to make dynamic examinations possible. Dynamic imaging deserves special emphasis because it is useful in differentiating full-thickness from partial-thickness tendon tears, muscle tears, and tendon and nerve subluxations or dislocations. It is also a quick and easy avenue for side-to-side comparisons. When appropriately used, diagnostic U/S can be considered as an extension of one's physical examination. However, there are limitations of U/S, which will be discussed in this review article. This is part 1 of two articles; this first part will focus on the ultrasound examination of the upper extremity, using selected examples relevant to musculoskeletal medicine. Part 2 will cover common pathologies of the lower extremity.

From the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Stanford University School of Medicine/VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (HLL); Sports Medicine Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Alexandra Hospital, Singapore (KTLC); Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan; School of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taiwan; King's College, London, United Kingdom (CPCC); and National Taiwan University Hospital, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taiwan (T-GW).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Tyng-Guey Wang, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, School of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.