Ultrasound - Shoulder
In ultrasound, a beam of sound at a very high frequency (that cannot be heard) is sent into the body from a small vibrating crystal in a hand-held scanner head. When the beam meets a surface between tissues of different density, echoes of the sound beam are sent back into the scanner head. The time between sending the sound and receiving the echo back is fed into a computer, which in turn creates an image that is projected on a television screen. Ultrasound is a very safe type of imaging.
Ultrasound is the preferred investigation for tears and inflammation of the soft tissues around the shoulder which can lead to pain and or reduced function. At Otago Radiology we assess the scan along with Xrays of the shoulder. If you have not had those at Otago Radiology recently they can be done when you come for your scan.
Preparing for your ultrasound
No preparation is necessary.
Please don’t forget to bring your request form with you if you have it. If the examination is part subsidised by the ACC, please bring your ACC form that you received at the time of your injury so we can check the claim number.
You should allow to be with us for at least one hour.
Your arm is moved into different positions to demonstrate the shoulder structures. The operator will be gentle but let them know if any manipulation is painful.
What to expect?
You are scanned sitting in a chair. The radiologist or sonographer will spread a waterbased jelly on your skin over the shoulder. The ultrasound probe is then placed on the jelly, which is a sound conductor, to obtain the pictures.
You will be completely unaware of the sound waves produced by the probe. There is no discomfort during the examination.
All the images are assessed by the radiologist after the examination and a report is dictated. This is sent to your referrer with copies to any other health professional if asked for on the request form.