Guided interventions in musculoskeletal ultrasound: what’s the evidence?

Authors: J. Davidson, S. Jayaraman

Increasing histological and radiological understanding of the processes involved in soft-tissue injury is leading to novel targeted treatments. A number of reviews have recommended that these treatments should be performed with image guidance. This review describes current ultrasound-guided interventions and injections, together with the level of evidence for these. Discussion of guided interventions will include; percutaneous lavage (barbotage), brisement, dry needling, electrocoagulation, and of guided injections; corticosteroids, autologous substances (blood and platelet rich plasma), sclerosants, and prolotherapy (hyperosmolar dextrose). Representative imaging illustrating some of these techniques is included for correlation with the methods described. As these procedures are often performed in sportspeople, it is essential that the radiologist is aware of prohibited substances and methods outlined in an annual publication from the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). Finally, future directions, including the use of autologous substances, mesenchymal and stem cells will be discussed.