Explore This Program

About the Program

The Massachusetts General Hospital Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Program provides diagnostic ultrasound exams and ultrasound-guided procedures to assist with early diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal pain and disorders such as arthritis, bursitis, vasculitis and gout.

Led by Minna J. Kohler, MD, the Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Program is a specialized service within the Rheumatology Unit. Musculoskeletal ultrasound offers non-operative treatment options for musculoskeletal conditions of the shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, hip, knee, and ankle and foot.

Accuracy and Comfort

Musculoskeletal ultrasound, also known as MSK ultrasound or simply MSKUS, uses sound waves to quickly provide images of bones, joints and tendons at the point-of-care to assist with diagnosis and treatment. Diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound is fast, non-invasive and radiation-free. Ultrasound-guided injections deliver greater accuracy and less pain than injections guided by touch.

What to Expect

At your first appointment, your physician will conduct a medical history and physical examination. To facilitate rapid diagnosis and treatment, physicians often perform ultrasounds and interpret the results during the same visit. Your physician may perform additional diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound or ultrasound-guided procedures at that time or may schedule subsequent visits.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is often performed to assist with:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Needle-guidance for aspirations and injections
  • Tendonitis or tendon-tear assessment
  • Early detection of joint and tendon inflammation, fluid collections, and bony erosions associated with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, immunotherapy and cancer-related arthritis, and other inflammatory and rheumatic conditions
  • Crystal deposition assessment for conditions such as gout and calcific arthritis (pseudogout, hydroxyapatite)
  • Detection of enthesitis or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments
  • Temporal artery ultrasound to assess for giant cell arteritis and large vessel vasculitis