Ultrasound Technology Offers Many Advantages For Arthritis

In the recent clinical setting, Ultrasound (US) technology offers many advantages like multiplanar image acquisition, the ability to image real-time dynamic structures, lack of ionizing radiation; also utility in interventional procedures. US is also cost effective, non-invasive and can be used without Contrast Enhancement (CE) to visualize various tissues involve in all the major forms of arthritis. The word arthritis is derived from the Greek arthron meaning “joint” and the Latin itis meaning “inflammation”.

Ultrasound for arthritis

Arthritis, a form of the joint disorder, involves inflammation of one or more joints. Over 100 different forms of arthritis exist. Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease; which is the most common type follow by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Gouty Arthritis (GA), Pseudogout or Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD), Psoriatic Arthritis (PA), Infectious Arthritis (IA), Spondyloarthritis (SA) and other relate autoimmune diseases. Arthritis can also be secondary to many other medical conditions.

Undifferentiate arthritis can exist as well; which does not fit into any well know clinical disease categories. Ultrasound is effective for differentiating between the major types of arthritis when combine with a physical exam and patient history; so according to a review recently publish in The Open Medical Imaging Journal.

Homagni Sikha Roy, M.D., of SouthWest Medical University in Luzhou, China; colleagues analyze the findings of 52 experimental and clinical studies that assess the use of ultrasound in imaging the major types of arthritis; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis, and spondyloarthritis. The researchers found that different modalities of ultrasound were effective in imaging all of the major types of arthritis; with different strengths and drawbacks for each type of arthritis.

Synovial changes within joints

For example, in osteoarthritis, ultrasound was particularly effective in identifying synovial changes within joints, soft tissue pathologies, osteophytosis, bony erosions, Baker cysts, and bursitis. In CPPD, ultrasound was useful in identifying calcium pyrophosphate crystals; hence via specific anatomic characteristics of the crystals; also provide a radiation free alternative to the conventional X-ray. Ultrasound could also differentiate between gouty arthritis and CPPD.

“In addition to a good history and physical examination; so ultrasound can prove to be a cheap, bedside; accurate imaging modality in evaluating and monitoring the disease process in each type of arthritis, if perform by a train sonographer,” the authors write. Ultrasound may demonstrate the ability to differentiate between the major types of Arthritis on a basic level when combine with history and physical examination.

This can prove to be beneficial in the early diagnosis of the major types of arthritis; but with few limitations. This review literature shows that Ultrasound can be very helpful in bed side analysis of the major types of arthritis as well as in differentiating between them; because this modality besides being non-invasive is also very cheap.