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Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Jeffrey Lai, MD -  - Regenerative Sports Medicine Physician

Jeffrey Lai, MD

Regenerative Sports Medicine Physician & Hormone Specialist located in Torrance, CA

Therapeutic injections are an increasingly popular non-surgical treatment choice for painful musculoskeletal conditions, with newer orthobiologic treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) expanding the range of options. Jeffrey Lai, MD, performs therapeutic injections at his modern office in Torrance, California, using musculoskeletal ultrasound guidance to ensure optimal delivery. Ultrasound technology gives Dr. Lai the visual confirmation to ensure that all of his procedures are pinpoint accurate. During your treatment, you can see for yourself on Dr. Lai’s wall-mounted flat screen. Call Jeffrey Lai, MD to find out more or book an appointment online.

   

MUSCULOSKELETAL ULTRASOUND Q & A

What Is Musculoskeletal Ultrasound?

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a diagnostic technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time, moving images of your body. As the sound waves travel through the body, images are produced as the sound waves bounce back from tissue or organ boundaries. With these images, Dr. Lai can visualize the internal structures of the body such as muscles, ligaments, tendons and other tissues. By performing a clinical examination as well as using ultrasound, Dr. Lai can accurately find the source of pain to properly address your injuries.

Dr. Lai is the only sports medicine physician in the South Bay certified in musculoskeletal sonography (RMSK®), a qualification that demonstrates Dr. Lai’s expertise in using musculoskeletal ultrasound. Using these images, Dr. Lai can deliver therapeutic injections to the precise spot where they will do the most good. He can also ensure that the needle does not cause any damage to surrounding tissues during the injection procedure.

Benefits of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal ultrasounds are painless, completely safe and non-invasive. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, musculoskeletal ultrasounds are performed with no radiation. The examination is performed in the comfort of our office and you are able to watch as Dr. Lai glides the ultrasound over your injured areas. The moving images allow Dr. Lai to view your tissues in real-time as they stretch and work together which can expose hidden areas of injury and damage. Also, since you are able to talk with Dr. Lai while he is performing the ultrasound, you can point to the exact location of pain or discomfort and Dr. Lai can examine that exact area while your tissues are moving which increases the accuracy of the diagnosis.

Another benefit of musculoskeletal ultrasound is that Dr. Lai can accurately deliver an injection to the injured area. As a result, the affected area can be treated with pinpoint accuracy which allows for the best results. Studies show that without musculoskeletal ultrasound guidance, even the most capable and experienced physicians are not able to place the injection as precisely. Dr. Lai knows how vital it is to deliver the right treatment to the specific injury site, and he always uses musculoskeletal ultrasound to guide him when injecting patients. This ultrasound guided injection will offer the best chance for pain relief and a quick recovery.

Is Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Better Than Moving X-Rays?

Moving X-ray technology (fluoroscopy) is an alternative way of achieving optimal accuracy when delivering injectable therapies. Although fluoroscopy can be effective, musculoskeletal ultrasound has advantages.

First, there’s no radiation involved in ultrasound technology, whereas fluoroscopy uses ionizing radiation. With ultrasound, it is also easier to see the soft tissue structures like nerves, blood vessels, and tendons that could be along the path of the injection.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is also better for identifying fluid in your joints that might need to be removed.

 

What To Expect At Your Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Appointment

The visit begins with a clinical examination by Dr. Lai during which you will describe your pain and injury. Dr. Lai will examine your body and ask you to perform specific movements to aid in the diagnosis.

During the ultrasound portion of the procedure, Dr. Lai will apply ultrasound gel to the skin of the area to be examined. The gel serves as a conductor for the high-frequency sound waves that will be transmitted through the body with images captured on the screen. Dr. Lai will use the ultrasound transducer to spread the gel over the affected area and as he glides the transducer around, you will be able to see generated images of your moving tissues. You and Dr. Lai can see the images together, allowing you to provide feedback while Dr. Lai is evaluating your condition. The images obtained during this procedure show real-time images with no radiation to help diagnose the issue and offer treatment recommendations.

The use of ultrasound, along with any suggested treatments, can help alleviate pain without invasive surgery and offer faster recovery time. Dr. Lai believes that normal is NOT optimal, and you should continue to thrive with the help of advanced medical science.
 

Why Would I Need Therapeutic Injections?

Dr. Lai uses musculoskeletal ultrasound to guide him when carrying out interventional injections.Therapeutic injections can be an effective way of treating musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain problems such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Labral tears
  • Muscle tears
  • Ligament tears
  • Tendinopathy

These conditions often improve using a combination of rest, physical therapy, medication, and other conservative approaches. If you have been receiving treatment for a while and it is not improving, or is losing its effectiveness, therapeutic injections could help.  

What Kinds of Therapeutic Injections Are There?

Musculoskeletal ultrasound-guided treatments can be done in the office with very little downtime after the procedure. A range of therapeutic injections are available, including:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid (viscosupplementation)
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • Prolotherapy
  • Stem cell therapy

These injections address a variety of underlying conditions with different results: Steroids reduce inflammation and pain. Viscosupplementation lubricates joints. PRP and stem cell therapy are orthobiologic treatments that use substances from your body to accelerate and improve healing.

Dr. Lai can also use musculoskeletal ultrasound to remove any excess fluid from joints or to run tests for conditions like gout or an infection.

After receiving treatment, Dr. Lai will conduct a telephone appointment with you to make sure you are healing properly and then see you again in a few weeks to two months for a follow-up.

How Much Does It Cost?

The musculoskeletal ultrasound consultation with Dr. Lai is $150. After Dr. Lai completes the evaluation, he may suggest various therapies including a combination of rest, physical therapy, medication, and therapeutic injections. Therapeutic injections can vary in cost from $100 to $1200 per injection depending on the type and location.

Sports Musculoskeletal Therapy Pricing

Comprehensive Initial In-Office Consultation

Sports Medicine/Musculoskeletal Follow-up (same condition, per visit)

Corticosteroids (per injection, varies depending on location)

Prolotherapy (per injection, one location)

Barbotage (varies depending on location)

Platelet Rich Plasma PRP (per injection, one location)

$150

$75

$100-150

$100

$100-200

$700-1200

  • For PRP, please visit our PRP page for additional information.
  • Diagnostic imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) is NOT included in the consultation.

Insurance

Our office is a cash-based practice. We do not accept or participate in any insurance programs. Our services are elective and therefore we require the patient to pay upfront for services rendered. We have also opted out of the Medicare Program and are only able to see Medicare patients who are willing to sign a Medicare Waiver, which restricts the patient’s ability to seek reimbursement from Medicare for medical services received at our office.

We understand that this may be disappointing to hear at first, but once you visit our office and experience the difference in convenience, quality of care, and our advanced treatments, you will understand the benefits of an independent medical practice. We are here to serve YOU, not the insurance companies and their complicated health plans. Transparency is a priority to us and you will be provided with treatment or program costs before you agree to proceed.

Our office has negotiated discounted rates for the required lab work. We pass these discounted rates on to our patients and do not profit from these labs. If your insurance plan provides reimbursement for out-of-network providers, our office will provide you with an itemized statement that you can submit for possible reimbursement. Because health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company, we cannot guarantee any level of insurance reimbursement.