“MSKUS has the same sensitivity and specificity as MRI for many injuries” [1]

Advantages to using MSK

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Imaging can be more specific in finding tears in the body. For the shoulder specifically, this diagnostic testing tool has a stronger ability to find and properly identify small intra-substance tears as well as the advantage of being able to evaluate nerve injuries and functions to see any impingement syndromes that are not identified with your basic MRI exam. Additionally, MRI exams are immensely limiting in identifying nerve pain syndromes. This is due to the fact that they cross through several tissue plains, muscle layers, and joints. With an MSKUS test, you are able to see the soft tissue and follow the nerves over these multiple plains of joints and muscle layers.

  1. Better Resolution of small ligaments and tendons near the joint
  2. Ability to stress and move ligament during the evaluation
  3. Better and higher resolution of nerves
  4. With the Doppler ultrasound there is the ability of vascular flow evaluation

Specific Case Study: Rotator Cuff Pathology

One of the most common pains a population can experience is shoulder pain, it is one of the common musculoskeletal disorders. At any given time, 7-26% of adults will experience shoulder pain and 66% will experience this pain or discomfort in their lifetime. In a study conducted and posted to the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 20 participants were taken in as subjects to measure the reliability of MSK ultrasound imaging. Of these subjects, the objective of the study was to measure supraspinatus tendon thickness and the accuracy of MSKUS imaging to do this.


“The results of the current study demonstrate the analytic precision of US[MSKUS], X-ray and MRI in the portrayal of full thickness RC tears. Since full thickness tear constitutes a key thought for surgical repair, this is a vital trademark while choosing an imaging methodology for RC issue. While considering exactness, cost, and well being, US[MSKUS] is the best option” [2]. The results demonstrated this to be a reliable method in, not only measuring thickness, but in being able to see muscle function to determine worsening or improving functions [3].


MSK Ultrasound imaging is not only reliable and accurate in determining tendon thickness for patients, it is also convenient to note muscle functions and is able to identify nerve pain syndromes. In a side by side comparison from MRI’s it is also the cost effective choice and delivers real time answers with immediate clinical implications. It is significant to keep in mind that “Ultrasound (US) results are strongly associated with operator’s expertise and requires careful preparing and involvement in execution and evaluation before exact analyses can be made” [2].