Minimally invasive musculoskeletal ultrasound provides a fast, accurate diagnosis of rheumatic diseases — plus better measurement of treatment success, reduced procedural pain, and improved patient satisfaction.

      “With so many people affected by rheumatic diseases, including arthritis, a diagnostic tool such as MSUS that is minimally invasive and with little risk to patients is an important tool for rheumatologists,” said Tim McAlindon, MD, of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass., lead researcher for a study published online in Arthritis Care Research.

      McAlindon’s task force reviewed the literature for recommendations on the use of MSUS and found evidence for several applications. A few examples include:

      • further investigation into articular pain, swelling, or mechanical symptoms without definitive diagnosis on clinical exam;
      • further investigation of current or new inflammatory arthritis symptoms, shoulder pain or mechanical symptoms to evaluate underlying structural disorders, but not for adhesive capsulitis or as preparation for surgical intervention;
      • and evaluation of the parotid and submandibular glands in suspected Sjögren’s disease.

      Researchers also found that MSUS could be used to guide articular and peri-articular aspiration or injection at sites that include the synovial, tenosynovial, bursal, peritendinous and perientheseal areas.

      Despite the benefits noted, the authors noted that they did not evaluate the economic impact of the procedure. McAlindon concluded, “Further study of the cost-effectiveness and long-term outcomes of MSUS is necessary to determine its value compared to other interventions.”