Ultrasound or x-ray of the knee joint – which is better?


If you encounter problems in the knee joint is required to carry out instrumental examination. Not people wonder what to do ultrasound of the knee joint, or better x-ray. In diseases of the musculoskeletal system is usually resorted to ultrasound, CT, MRI or x-ray. The choice of method is determined by the doctor depending on the results of physical examination. Frequency assignment is the leader of the x-rays of the knee. If necessary do an ultrasound.

Is it always unambiguous diagnosis of the two methods? What are the advantages of each of them? What is the difference between the results of ultrasound from an x-ray? Let us examine these questions.

The ultrasound reflected from the record on the ultrasonic waves. Modern equipment of the new generation of three-dimensional imaging has expanded the possibilities of ultrasound in the detection of pathology of the ligaments, joint capsule, tendons and surrounding periarticular tissues. This method of research is used in such symptoms as pain, swelling, cracking and fatigue in the knee. Ultrasound examination is painless and does not require special training of the patient to the session. The technique of the procedure:

  • the patient is placed on the couch;
  • the knee area is smeared with gel that conducts ultrasound waves;
  • sensor conduct research in various angles region of both knees.

Using sensors, high-resolution, receive an informative picture of soft tissues, the joint capsule and surfaces. The image is transferred onto a computer monitor. If necessary, the save on CD-disks or flash cards. The decoding of the picture makes the doctor of functional diagnostics.

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When doing an x-ray of the knee?

X-rays reveal pathology of bone and articular cartilage. For reliability studies do the in 4 projections: lateral, straight, tangential and Razmyslov.

In the picture of a healthy knee are visible articular surfaces of the femur and the tibia, and the meniscus on the side picture. If a direct x-ray articular gap looks like between the surfaces of nothing, then this is a normal condition because the cartilage is badly delayed x-rays.

In the pathology of x-rays reveals:

  • osteoporosis;
  • the defeat of the articular cartilage diagnosticado thinning or thickening of the articular zamechatelnyh records.
  • osteoarthritis;
  • bursitis;
  • arthritis;
  • the displacement of bone after injuries;
  • dislocation;
  • tumor.

X-rays of the knee do when such symptoms:

  • redness of the joint;
  • knee pain with increasing temperature;
  • swelling;
  • deformation.

X-rays cannot be conducted frequently. With significant obesity x-rays are sometimes not able to identify bone and cartilage pathology. The presence of intra-articular screws and rods is a contraindication to x-rays.

Which is better ultrasound or x-ray?

When choosing a method of instrumental diagnosis, the doctor focuses on the nature of the suspected pathology after physical examination and anamnesis. In the recent past, the x-ray was the standard for diagnosis of osteoarthritis and fracture of the bones forming the knee joint. Despite the latest technology, radiography does not lose its position in the study of bone pathology musculoskeletal system.

Application of digital diagnostic reduces radiation exposure and improves the quality of radiographs, which positively affects the diagnosis of diseases. Often, however, to conduct such a study impossible.

On the radiograph you can see only the bones and joint surfaces.

But to visualize muscles, the joint capsule, cartilage and tendons can’t. The use of ultrasound is more informative.

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Ultrasound shows the following diseases and changes in the structure of the joint:

  • damage to the ligaments;
  • thinning of cartilage;
  • arthritis;
  • swelling of the soft tissues;
  • bruises joint;
  • deformation of the cavity of the bag;
  • damage to the collateral ligaments of the knee joint;
  • arthritis;
  • deformation and injury of the meniscus;
  • fluid in the joint cavity;
  • foreign body in the joint.

Unlike x-rays, ultrasound allows measurement of the joint space and the thickness of the cartilage. In the study of the knee to evaluate the number of synovial fluid and localization of the largest accumulation in inversions of the bag. This information is important for the operating surgeon. Method of ultrasound can detect pathological lesions of small size, which allows to identify disease at an early age. The advantage of ultrasound before x-ray is that it can often hold that allows you to monitor the results of treatment.

Simplicity, accessibility and safety of ultrasound – advantages for a wide application of the method in the diagnosis of diseases of the joints. Therefore, ultrasound is used in pediatric practice. In addition, this method is quite affordable. Ultrasonic equipment is available in all medical institutions.

Bone and cartilage tissue requires radiographic examination, because it gives a more accurate result. If the process involved the ligaments, joint capsule, tendons and muscles, the doctor prefers to appoint an ultrasound.

In the end we came to the conclusion that in the diagnosis of diseases of the knee joint, both methods are applied. Each of them has its own advantages depending on the nature of the pathology. To detect bone changes used x-ray. In the case of destruction of soft tissues and cavity of the joint capsule, it is preferable to do an ultrasound.