Ultrasound technology has many applications in medicine. Ultrasound stimulates the tissue beneath the skin's surface using high frequency sound waves and is best absorbed in soft tissue 2-5 cm from the skin. Gel is used on the skin to reduce friction and assist transmission of the ultrasonic waves. Waves are absorbed primarily by connective tissue including ligaments, tendons, fascia and scar tissue.
Ultrasound technology at higher frequencies may be used to image soft tissue structures, internal organs, and fetuses in a mother’s womb. When ultrasound is used for diagnostic purposes it is referred to a sonogram. In musculoskeletal medicine, sonography is fast becoming a very useful imaging modality for both diagnostic and interventional purposes. Practitioners of musculoskeletal ultrasound can assess tendons, ligaments, nerves, bone and joints in the comfort of their clinic. There is no risk of radiation to the patient and there is good image quality and diagnostic accuracy. Providers can deliver injected medications to appropriate tissue targets with unbelievable accuracy and safety that often is not available with other image guidance techniques.
Physical therapists, athletic trainers and others use therapeutic ultrasound to treat painful conditions and to promote tissue healing. Ultrasound is used therapeutically to aid in the healing process. Ultrasound increased the blood flow in the treated area to speed the healing process. It can decrease pain by reducing swelling and edema. An ultrasound wave is a gentle soft tissue massage and heals damaged tissues and softens scar tissue.
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