Ultrasound images of the hip provide images of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, bone and soft tissues of the hip. In infants, the hip, which has a ball and cup configuration, is composed mainly of cartilage and is easily recognized on ultrasound.
Ultrasound imaging uses a small probe, called a transducer, and gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves travel from the probe, through the gel, into the body. The probe collects the sounds that bounce back. A computer uses those sound waves to create the images for the exam.
Ultrasound is painless and non-invasive.
When would I get an Ultrasound of the Hip?
Hip pain is a common complaint that can arise from various causes. Your medical provider may recommend a hip ultrasound in the evaluation of:
- abnormalities of the muscles, such as tears and soft-tissue masses
- foreign bodies, bleeding, infections or other types of fluid collections
- benign and malignant soft tissue tumors
- early changes of arthritis
What Will I Experience?
For most ultrasound exams, you will lie on your back on an exam table. You may have your position adjusted to either side in order to improve the quality of the images captured during the exam.
An ultrasound technologist will apply a warm water-based gel to the area of the body being studied. The gel will help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The transducer is placed on the body and moved back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured.
There is usually no discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against the area being examined. However, if scanning is performed over an area that is tender or sensitive, you may feel some pressure or minor discomfort from the transducer.
Once the exam is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry quickly. The ultrasound gel does not usually stain or discolor clothing.
Typically, ultrasound imaging of the hip takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.