ultrasound guided injection

by Dr. Samuel G. Oltman, ND, RMSK

Have you ever been to the doctor for a painful condition only to be sent away to get imaging completed? This requires scheduling another appointment, then coming back to the doctor to get the results, all the while you’re in pain without answers. While this is sometimes necessary, the acceleration of ultrasound technology over the past 10 years has been so substantial that much of what causes common painful conditions is amenable to in-office ultrasound imaging with real-time results. Getting the correct diagnosis quickly can mean weeks or months of your life back.

The big barrier to wider ultrasound adoption is that it is difficult for practitioners to learn how to produce and interpret the images properly. It requires a lot of technical skill that takes time to develop. All the physicians at Oregon Regenerative Medicine are highly skilled in ultrasound imaging for both diagnosis and for image-guided procedures. Dr. Oltman has the RMSK credential that signifies expertise in musculoskeletal ultrasound and is one of only a handful of doctors in the entire state of Oregon to achieve this distinction.

Ultrasound imaging is equal to or better than MRI in evaluating most tendon and ligament disorders in the arms and legs (i.e. not the spine). This includes common conditions such as achilles tendinitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis/impingement/tearing, ankle sprains, patella tendinitis, trochanteric bursitis, and many more. Ultrasound is also done in real-time, in-office as a part of your examination so we know what’s going on (or not going on) in-the-moment and often don’t need to send you out for additional imaging.

Normal elbow tendon
Tennis Elbow: Tendon Tear (circled in red)
Ultrasound-Guided Injection Into Tear (red dotted line)

Getting the correct diagnosis is absolutely essential in getting the right treatment. Ultrasound is an underutilized and super-convenient tool toward getting the correct diagnosis and getting it quickly so you can get better sooner. In addition to its utility in diagnosis, ultrasound adds a whole level of additional precision in injection therapies where we can guide the needle in real-time to exactly the spot where it needs to go to treat the affected area. We are not guessing and using our fingers to get the needle “close to where it hurts”. With ultrasound we can separate out individual tendon, ligament, and fascia fibers, get around nerves, and put the medicine into the correct location without a doubt.

Convenience is not everything. There are times when you have to get an MRI to get the right diagnosis and the proper treatment. But we also are not interested in wasting your time and if we can use our skills to visualize the problem and give you answers the day you come in for your visit, and there are not many clinics in the country that have the ability to do that. Our care is completely patient-centered and our commitment to ultrasound expertise is yet another example of how everything at Oregon Regenerative Medicine is about you feeling your best.