In any orthopedic practice, ultrasound is an invaluable tool for diagnosing and treating patients. Ultrasound-guided injections at the point of care are fast becoming an important non-surgical option for the treatment of joint pain. These procedures are transforming MSK practices, delivering targeted results faster, with less invasive procedures. The potential for growth in orthopedic practices by incorporating ultrasound for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures is huge.
Ultrasound has changed the way that I do my injections.
Jason D. Rand, PA-C at Boston Sports & Shoulder Center and a member of the Boston Celtics medical team, commented that ultrasound has enabled more accurate injections performed in a convenient office-based setting.
“Ultrasound has changed the way that I do my injections. It's made my practice a lot more efficient, and I believe my patients are a lot happier,” says Rand.
Ultrasound designed for MSK injections
Ultrasound can be used for diagnostic purposes, including assessing tendons, muscles and ligaments for injuries, investigating inflammation, fluid collection, and measuring masses. It can also be used for interventional purposes, such as guiding injections, including cortisone or orthobiologics, or aspirating joints to rule out an infection or diagnose other conditions.
Ultrasound allowed us to expand our practice.
Rand uses Konica Minolta ultrasound systems to support ultrasound-guided therapies. The SONIMAGE® HS2 Compact Ultrasound System offers real-time evaluation and needle-guidance software for clear visualization, with an array of probes designed to meet a full range of needs for MSK and orthopedic practices.
“Ultrasound allowed us to expand our practice. Injections that we previously sent out to be performed under fluoroscopy, we can now keep in our practice, which is amazing for retaining patients, increasing revenue and improving patient care,” Rand says.
Konica Minolta’s Simple Needle Visualization (SNV®) software, available with the HS2 System, highlights the advancing needle in blue for greater visibility of the needle tip, shaft and injectate for confident needle placement.
Using SNV has allowed Rand and his colleagues to perform Acromio-Clavicular joint injections, which require a higher degree of accuracy. “It’s a more efficient injection. There’s no more hunting for the right spot. You just follow the blue highlighted needle enabled by the SNV feature and watch that needle fall into the right spot,” he says.
While performing interventional MSK procedures, Rand also appreciates the vascular flow feature on Konica Minolta’s ultrasound units. “I can clearly see the vessel is red so I can get close to it without hitting it,” he explains.
Ultrasound for better Orthobiologic delivery
Orthobiologics are drugs that helps slow or stop damaging inflammation, especially in joints affected by arthritis. However, they’re gaining popularity in sports medicine as well. For example, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) provides concentrated autologous platelets from a centrifuged vial of a patient’s blood, which is then injected in an injured joint or other area of concern. In some cases, PRP can help decrease a patient's pain.
Many biologics aren’t covered by insurance, so they’re an expensive out-of-pocket cost.
“How are you going to assure a patient that paying $1,000 for an injection gets them where they need to be? By utilizing ultrasound guidance with these biologics, we know they are being placed in the right spot by viewing the blue needle with SNV on Konica Minolta’s ultrasound system. And, we can show this to our patients while they are in our office,” he says.
Konica Minolta’s ultrasound solutions have allowed his practice to enhance patient care...
Overall, Rand believes that Konica Minolta’s ultrasound solutions have allowed his practice to enhance patient care while improving clinical efficiency and confidence.
“If I send a patient out for an injection, I don't know how they respond to even the lidocaine during the procedure. But when I do an injection, I can have them wait in the office for five minutes and repeat my exam, if necessary. And if the pain goes away, then I know that I've nailed the pathology,” Rand adds.
An inexpensive imaging option
Unlike MRI, there are no contraindications to ultrasound when patients have pacemakers or metal implants. There’s no ionizing radiation, as there is with a CT scan. And ultrasound offers a dynamic view of muscles and tendons in motion.
“Ultrasound does not replace MRI, but it can be more valuable for some diagnoses and provide greater benefits compared to MRI, such as a dynamic evaluation of anatomical structures,” Rand explains.
MRIs are very expensive whereas ultrasound exams are inexpensive and are performed at the bedside in the office.
“MRIs are very expensive whereas ultrasound exams are inexpensive and are performed at the bedside in the office. The patient doesn’t have to go to another facility for an MRI,” Rand says.
“Ultrasound provides onsite and immediate information. If you think the patient has a rotator cuff tear, you can visualize the tear with ultrasound, allow the patient to see the problem, and schedule the next steps such as surgery, all at the initial appointment. It's a more streamlined patient experience,” he says.
Rand shares his expertise in MSK injections through Konica Minolta’s UGPro® Solution, a program designed to support ultrasound-guided procedures. This focused, comprehensive solution unites the latest ultrasound and procedural innovations with hands-on education to equip clinicians to quickly enhance their ultrasound skills and knowledge and help them improve patient outcomes, all while growing their practice.
Ultrasound is a cost-effective tool that can help manage healthcare costs, retain a larger share of revenue within a practice, and deliver a better patient experience. With superior image quality and features such as SNV and a high-resolution blood flow mode, the SONIMAGE HS2 Compact Ultrasound System is an ideal imaging solution to help grow an orthopedic practice.