You are in pain and have been for quite some time. Your doctor advises you to seek pain relief with a joint injection. The procedure is often recommended when other conservative treatments such as oral medication, joint manipulation and physical therapy have been ineffective.
Practices that do these injections give them three in ways
- Blind injection
- Ultrasound Guided
In our practice, we use Ultrasound Guidance. After extensive research it was determined that this is the best, state-of-the-art procedure for our patients.
Ultrasound-guided joint injections (MSK Injection) are a safe, non-invasive approach to treating pain, inflammation, and impaired mobility. This allows the physician to avoid painful or dangerous areas, avoiding nerves, cysts, tendons, and fluid collections. It does not require the use of any radiation and is more commonly done as an office procedure.
Ultrasound Guided injections offer:
- Improved precision — With ultrasound guidance, pain and anti-inflammatory medication can be injected into the ideal spot for extended symptomatic relief with increased accuracy.
- Improved safety — The physician can visualize exactly where the needle is going, the risk of complications from improper placement is greatly reduced.
- Decreased procedural pain— Ultrasound-guided injections are typically considered quicker and less painful than conventional injections
A blind injection is just what it sounds like, injecting any joint “blind” means that the doctor does not use any type of imaging guidance and cannot see where the needle is going, and rely on touch and experience to determine optimal injection placement. The problem is that sometimes with a blind injection the doctor is not really in the joint, but just close to the joint. If you miss the correct spot, then the medication or stem cells never make it inside the joint. We want more than exact placement inside the joint, we usually want to be in a specific portion of the joint to bring the maximum relief to the center of pain. There is not a whole lot more to say, this hit or miss technique has been replaced by safer, more effective treatments, which is why we do not use this technique on our patients.
Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie. During a fluoroscopy procedure, an X-ray beam is passed through the body. The image is transmitted to a monitor so the movement of a body part or of an instrument or contrast agent through the body can be seen in detail. Standard X-rays are like photographs, whereas fluoroscopy is like a video. Fluoroscopy and X-rays are both imaging tests that use radiation to take images of your internal tissues.
Healthcare providers use fluoroscopy for two main purposes: for diagnostic purposes and to help guide certain treatment procedures (known as interventional guidance), such as surgeries and catheter placements.
While statistically very small, Fluoroscopy carries some risks including:
- Radiation-induced injuries to the skin and underlying tissues (“burns”), which occur shortly after the exposure.
- Radiation-induced cancers, which may occur sometime later in life.
- Allergic reactions to the dye that is used.
While Fluoroscopy is the most common imaging modality used for cervical nerve blocks and facet injections, there has been tremendous growth in the use of Ultrasound Guidance for these interventions. It offers more rewards with less risk, which is why it is best suited for our patients, who deserve nothing but the best.
Ultrasound-guided joint injections possess several advantages over fluoroscopy as a diagnostic imaging modality beyond the absence of ionizing radiation, which many have allergies or adverse reactions to. For example, Ultrasound’s portability enables real-time, point-of-care diagnostics at the bedside. The soft-tissue contrast is often better with ultrasound than with fluoroscopy, and with fluoroscopy, you can’t see nerves or blood vessels.
The technology captures live images of internal body structures through the application of high-frequency sound waves. While best known for assessing the progression of a pregnancy, physicians also frequently use this safe, non-invasive technology when performing joint injections.
Guided injections using ultrasound provide the doctor with “X-ray vision.” Orthopedists largely avoid the hit-or-miss approach by using guided technologies such as ultrasound. The clear, detailed images guide the insertion of the needle and the administration of the medicine or stem cells.
Come and speak with Dr. Savarino, a highly skilled physician with over 10 years of experience and expertise. He has brought cutting-edge technology and new trends in medicine to Central Monmouth County to benefit his patients. He will be happy to discuss and address your medical questions and concerns with an individualized treatment plan.