Centres of Excellence -> Radiology & Imaging -> How to prepare for US of the musculoskeletal system?

How to prepare for US of the musculoskeletal system?

You should wear comfortable clothes which can be easily taken off for the ultrasound procedure. You will have to take off all the clothes and jewelry on a certain part of the body that is undergoing US.

Other special preparations for US are not necessary.

What does a US scan of the musculoskeletal system look like?

During an US scan of the musculoskeletal system the patients is lying or sitting while the part of the body undergoing the scan is free of clothes and jewelry.

Ultrasonic gel is applied on the part of the body undergoing the scan. The gel is a transparent gelatinous matter which serves to make a better contact between the probe and the skin.

The US probe is leaned on the skin of the body part that is undergoing scanning and moved on the skin with the aim of showing certain structures of the body. Sometimes it is necessary to actively of passively move the body part undergoing the scan.

If there is a need for an intervention under US control, e.g. puncture of a mass or joint liquid, the attending physician will talk to you about the procedure.

The US scan usually takes around 15 minutes.

What to expect during and after the US scan?

Most US scans are painless, quick and do not require special cooperation from patients.

If the scan is being done above an area which is painful, you can feel short discomfort.

After the can you will be able to do your routine activities without problems.

Who is performing the US scan?

Radiologist – specialist in radiology educated to perform and analyze US scans. The radiologist will analyze the scans and will write the radiological report. If necessary, he/she will consult the physician who indicated the procedure.

What are the advantages, and what are the risks of US scans?


Most US scans are non-invasive (without the needle or injection) and painless.

US is a widely available method, easy to use and significantly cheaper than other methods of body imaging.

US does not use ionizing radiation.

US displays soft tissue structures which we cannot see on X-ray scans.

Considering US has no harmful effect, the scan can be repeated as many times as possible.

US gives a picture in real time and shows organ movements. It is also a good method for interventions (puncture, drug injections and other)

Modern US machines have high resolutions and nearly show the microscopic structure of tissue.


For standard diagnostic use of US there is no scientific evidence of harmful effect for the human body.

Pregnancy and US scans

There is no known risk for US scans of the musculoskeletal system during pregnancy.

What are the limitations of US scans of the musculoskeletal system?

US waves penetrates with great difficulty through the bone so they only show the outer contour of the bone. To show the inner structure of the bone or the inside of joints, we use other imaging radiological methods, primarily MR.

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