Ultrasound guided injections can be used to treat painful joints, tendons and ligaments and help lessen symptoms. They can be used in instances of pain and reduced mobility where other more conservative treatments have not worked.
By using ultrasound, one of our radiologists can guide the delivery of a drug (commonly a local anaesthetic and steroid) using a needle to the exact part of your joint that will help your symptoms. Given the needle can be seen at all times, the procedure is considered to be safe with A low risk of complications.
In instances of calcific tendonitis, calcium deposits can be found within the tendon, commonly affecting the ‘rotator cuff’ within the shoulder. Here a needle can be used to break up and potentially aspirate some of the calcification whilst injecting local anaesthetic.
The procedure usually lasts 15-30 minutes. The area in question is cleaned and then local anaesthetic is injected to make the procedure as painless as possible. Using a US probe to guide the needle, the medication is then injected into the target area.
Most patients are instructed to rest the joint as much as possible within the first 24-48 hours. Some patients may get increased pain during the first couple of days post procedure due to steroid flare or inflammation: in these cases you may want to take pain medication (not NSAIDs) or use an ice pack on the area. You will usually benefit from the full effect within 10 days.
For most procedures, it is advised to have someone else drive you home once the procedure is finished in case you have some discomfort or numbness in your joint after the procedure.