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Ultrasound can be used for far more than looking inside the patient to see what is taking place at a specific time. Using point of care ultrasound, or POCUS, allows for an adaptive view of how a patient is progressing or for guiding treatments the patient needs. With this additional view, treatments and procedures are becoming safer, more accurate, and very reliable.
Radio frequency ablations can be used in a number of ways for patient wellness. According to Johns Hopkins, radiofrequency ablation “is a minimally invasive technique that shrinks the size of tumors, nodules or other growths in the body. RFA is used to treat a range of conditions [...] as well as chronic back and neck pain.” A needle is injected in the area and radio frequency waves are sent out to kill nearby nerve cells, limiting the transmission of information about pain to the brain. This allows for less pain in the area in question. The procedure is usually outpatient and normal activities can be resumed the next day. Relief is felt for at least a year for 70% of patients.
In a specific study using ultrasound during radio frequency ablations to treat degenerative osteoarthritis, ultrasound was used both to determine the anatomy of the cadavers used, to measure the distance needed for the procedure, and to observe the advancement of the RF cannula. Once completed, dissection allowed for researchers to measure the distance of the site to the nerves using staining. The ultrasound aided procedures were consistent in their placement, regarding the distance between staining and where the nerves are located. Additionally, for RF specifically, the proximity is imperative to the best possible patient outcome in order to target the nerves in question.
In the past, fluoroscopy was used to aid in placement of the injection site, while effective, ionizing radiation was always a potential harm for the patient and the medical provider. An additional benefit of using ultrasound is the full capabilities of imaging inside especially in a joint as complicated as the knee or other areas of the body. By manipulating the probe in different positions, the provider can ensure correct placement of the procedure and monitor the procedure as it is taking place. By being able to watch the procedure internally, a more accurate view is possible. Soft tissue can be seen through ultrasound creating a safer procedure for the patient. Lastly, ultrasound is less expensive than fluoroscopy devices and can be put to use in a number of different ways for the provider.
To learn more about point of care ultrasound, and how to use this technology to assist your practice in a number of different ways, contact us today. We have courses scheduled and you can begin learning as soon as you sign up with our unique flipped model of education, with pre-learning taking place at home before participating in hands on instruction.