Ultrasound is useful for guiding steroid injections around tendons, ligaments and nerves and into joints, bursae and neuromas. Ultrasound can also facilitate drainage of soft tissue collections including hematomas, abscesses and Baker’s cysts.
What to expect during the procedure:
- You may be asked to remove your pants or shirt and you will be given a gown to wear.
- The exam room is usually dark so the images can be seen clearly on the computer screen.
- The technician will move a small wand (transducer) over the area to be imaged. A warm, clear gel will be placed between the transducer and the skin to facilitate the transmission of the sound waves into and out of the body.
- Your skin will be cleaned.
- You may be given topical anesthetic which will feel very cold.
- Local anesthetic will be administered.
- Local anesthetic and steroid (we use Kenalog, Depomedrol or Celestone depending on your physician) will be administered into the area of interest using to ultrasound to guide and confirm placement.
What to expect after the procedure:
- The anesthetic lasts from 1-4 hours after procedure so you may experience temporary relief of your symptoms
- The steroid can take from 1 day to 1 week to start working (on average 2-3 days) but should provide longer lasting relief of your symptoms. The duration of action can vary from a few weeks up to 1 year. There is no way to predict the duration of the steroid prior to the procedure.
- A small number of patients will have the following after the procedure:
- Increased pain – this is a short term reaction to the steroid and should resolve in 1-2 days. You can use ice or anti-inflammatories to treat the pain (unless otherwise contraindicated).
- Flushing – some may get redness in the cheeks or feel hot. This is a short term reaction to the steroid and should resolve in 1-2 days. You can use benadryl to treat the pain (unless otherwise contraindicated).
What types of activity are allowed after the procedure:
- If your doctor has given you instructions please follow his or her recommendations.
- In general, avoid activities that cause to pain for 2-3 days following the procedure. Exercises that did not result in symptoms prior to the procedure should be okay.