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ATI Physical Therapy Review Article on Ultrasound and Rotator Cuff Tears Featured in National Pain Journal

The use of ultrasound to detect rotator cuff tears has grown exponentially in the last few years and will only continue to become more popular according to an article published in the September 2013 issue of Practical Pain Management authored by ATI Physical Therapy Regional Director Tiziano Marovino, DPT, MPH, RMSK.

Practical Pain Management LogoMarovino reviewed data on the prevalence of rotator cuff tears and recent studies on the use of diagnostic ultrasound (DUS) in musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, in particular shoulder evaluation. He found that “higher vigilance needs to be considered for workplace shoulder injuries.” Marovino suggests that DUS could be a powerful surveillance tool to evaluate those workers with existing injury, as well as monitor the effects of certain workplace exposures such as assembly line repetitive stress.

Marovino writes, “Instead of being the cheaper alternative to the ‘gold standard’ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), current evidence supports the use of DUS as an accurate primary imaging test for MSK lesions.”

Marovino’s review of relevant studies highlighted two take-home points:

  • DUS can be highly accurate as a diagnostic test
  • You can only achieve high accuracy with formal training and experience

Interestingly, the article notes that DUS may be the only imaging method where “error or noise in the system can actually increase the likelihood of making the correct diagnosis for a select group of pathologies.”

In noting the strengths of diagnostic imaging, Marovino points out that clinicians cannot rely solely on images to establish diagnosis because pain, weakness, or range of motion deficits can not necessarily be captured in a picture.

However, when used as a tool in a comprehensive evaluation process, Marovino concludes, “ultrasound imaging is accurate, affordable for virtually any practice, well tolerated by patients, has no known adverse effects, transportable, reimbursable, provides real time data, and is functional.”

For more information about Practical Pain Management please visit www.practicalpainmanagement.com.

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ATI Physical Therapy is a comprehensive orthopedic rehabilitation provider, specializing in research-based physical therapy; work conditioning/hardening; functional capacity evaluations; sports medicine and performance; and women's health. Based in Bolingbrook, Illinois, ATI has grown to over 275 clinics in ten states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. ATI’s dedicated in-house Research Department strives to improve patient outcomes through basic science, translational research, and evidence-based medicine. For more information, visit www.atipt.com.

Contact: Kim Waterman
(630) 296-2222 x7158