Ultrasound is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive means of diagnosing a number of medical conditions. This review presents an analysis of the diagnostic value of ultrasound to draw comparison between different types of arthritic conditions. The 7 major arthritic conditions included in this study are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease), psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis and spondyloarthritis.
In this review, researchers at SouthWest Medical University, China have conducted a computerized literature search in Pubmed and identified a list of 206 publications related to arthritis. Out of this list, a total of 52 studies out of those met the search criteria for involving diagnostic ultrasonography. The researchers found that ultrasound was effective in delineating characteristic features in each of the above mentioned 7 major types of arthritis. When performed by a trained sonographer and combined with a good history and physical examination, ultrasound proved to be a convenient, feasible, economic and accurate imaging modality in the evaluation and monitoring of disease process and progression in each type of arthritis. Some of the features overlapped while some were idiosyncratic to each.
Although MRI has been considered as the main modality for musculoskeletal (MS) pathology evaluation, high resolution ultrasound with colour doppler imaging is suggested as the imaging method of choice for the assessment of superficial MS lesions.
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