Ultrasound and the musculoskeletal system: swings and roundabouts

The use of ultrasound for diagnostic imaging has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and is now the preferred approach for many applications, but according to experts the application with the biggest growth potential is imaging of the musculoskeletal system.
Major developments in the technology, which now provides a number of modes including grey scale, colour and power Doppler, spectral Doppler and elastography, allow accurate characterization of joint pathology; even the acquisition of dynamic, essentially isotropic 3D images is now possible. The biggest remaining challenge is reported to be the adequate training and monitoring of medical professionals to enable them to carry out this highly complex ultrasound application.
However, while patients ranging from young athletes with suspected torn tendons, muscles or ligaments to those suffering from chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis