Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections may help treat severe hip pain

December 22, 2009, American Roentgen Ray Society

Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections may be an effective treatment method for gluteus medius tendinopathy, a common, painful condition caused by an injury to the tendons in the buttocks that typically affects middle-aged to elderly women and young active individuals, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Gluteus medius tendinopathy can cause severe hip pain. "The underlying causes remain unclear but probably are multi-factorial and involve mechanical and degenerative processes," said Etienne Cardinal, MD, lead author of the study. Medical treatment usually includes physiotherapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and local injections of .

The study, performed at the University of Montreal's Hospital Center, included 54 patients with gluteus medius tendinopathy. Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections were performed on all patients. "One month after treatment, 72 percent of the patients showed a clinically significant improvement in pain level. Seventy percent of patients were satisfied with the results of the intervention," said Cardinal.

"The use of ultrasound for guiding musculoskeletal procedures has increased over the past several years. Advantages of ultrasound over fluoroscopy include its soft-tissue imaging capabilities that allow a diagnostic study to be performed before cortisone injection," he said.

"This noninvasive, nonionizing imaging technique allows continuous monitoring of the needle position, which facilitates the performance of safe and precise cortisone injections," said Cardinal.

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