Ultrasound of the shoulder: an overview

Author(s): Kirstie Godson, Lorelei Waring

Hospital: University of Leeds, University of Cumbria

Reference: RAD Magazine. 47, 553, 14-16


Ultrasound was first introduced as a diagnostic imaging tool in the 1970s; however, it did not make an impact within the musculoskeletal (MSK) arena until the 1980s. This was fuelled by marked improvements in ultrasound technology and increased interest in the use of ultrasound in MSK imaging. The use of ultrasound within the MSK field is ever broadening and it is now utilised by a range of healthcare professionals; additionally the demand for MSK ultrasound examinations has increased dramatically over the years as its value in this field has been recognised. Examination of the shoulder for shoulder pain is one of the most frequently requested examinations, since shoulder pain is one of the most commonly reported MSK disorders. Whether acute or chronic, shoulder pain is known to be a debilitating disorder and the recovery period can span from days to years. It is not limited by age or gender and the cause can often be multifactorial, but some of the most common causes of include osteoarthritis, subacromial pain syndrome and rotator cuff related disorders.

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