Musculoskeletal Services

Musculoskeletal ultrasound

Ultrasound is an extremely useful tool to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems.

What does an ultrasound scan involve?

Ultrasound scan

Ultrasound scans are safe, painless and can be quick to perform.

The procedure and equipment is similar to ultrasound scans of other parts of the body - for example the scans that pregnant mothers have to look at their baby. A small amount of gel is used on the skin, and a handheld device is used to look ‘inside’ the joint.

For ultrasound-guided injections, the needle can be guided to the correct area of the body to allow fluid to be taken out, or medications such as a steroid to be injected in.

What do we use ultrasound for?

We use ultrasound to help diagnose arthritis in our Early Arthritis Clinic. We also have ultrasound clinics - led by Dr Ben Thompson, Consultant Rheumatologist - where scans can help make decisions about the most effective treatment for arthritis, or to guide injections into particular joints.

Ultrasound scans are also part of many of our routine clinics. The advantage they have over X-rays are that tendons, muscles, fluid and the synovium (the lining of the joint) can be seen - only the bones are visible in X-rays.

We can also use ultrasound to look at blood vessels, which can be useful for patients where blood vessel inflammation (‘vasculitis’) is suspected.

More information


You can get more information about the scans on the NHS Choices website.


For more information about musculoskeletal ultrasound, contact:

  • Dr Ben Thompson
  • Tel: 0191 223 1853
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