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Seoul St. Mary's Hospital hit 50,000 cases of joint ultrasound

March 31,2021

The Joint Ultrasound Unit : The unit is expanded and relocated. The latest equipment is introduced. 

Inflammatory arthritis can be accurately diagnosed, treated, and analyzed


The Department of Rheumatology, which Doctor Wan-Uk Kim is leading at The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, has recently achieved 50,000 cases of joint ultrasound exam in total.  

Since 2002 the Department of Rheumatology introduced the ultrasound for the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis for the first time in Korea, it has increased the number of annual joint ultrasound exams from 3,000 cases in 2010 to 6,400 case in 2019, which is more than double.

연간 관절초음파 시행 건수 추이 

Joint ultrasound can check whether there is effusion (a body fluid that can be accumulated in soft tissues after it comes out of blood vessels or cells) or damage to the tissues around the joint. Furthermore, it can detect arthiritis at an early stage, which is not easy to be found with a conventional X-ray. It can examine bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and others while a patient is moving their joints so that abnormal findings can be diagnosed, which could be seen only in a specific posture.

In particular, it is very useful to see the size and characteristics of joint lump or ganglion, and check how they are affected by other tissues surrounding blood vessels and nerves so that the diagnosis and treatment can be performed more effectively. 

By using ultrasound, drugs like steroids can be accurately injected into the joint cavity in which inflammation has been activated. The joint cavity is a space consisting of synovial fluid in the area where two bones come into contact to form a joint with the cell layers surrounding it. The treatment procedures and the result can be checked in real time, and it is cheaper and more convenient than CT or MRI scans.


 

Doctor Young-Jae Park performs joint ultrasound in the ultrasound unit of the Department of Rheumatology, which has led a pioneer role by introducing the joint ultrasound for the first time to Korea.  Based on a variety of cases of patients, we provide educational programs including workshops and trainings to attending and resident doctors, striving to make joint ultrasound exams easy for patients to approach. 

At the end of March, the ultrasound unit is to be expanded and relocated, and in early April, two more advanced ultrasound machines are to be introduced. Beyond the conventional joint ultrasound, we plan to expand the exam scope to checking other soft tissues including salivary gland and local rheumatism including peripheral neuropathy for better diagnosis and treatment.

Doctor Wan-Uk Kim, Director of the Department of Rheumatology, mentioned, “Achieving 50,000 cases is the fruit of our continuous efforts in that we have always played a pioneering role in the development of rheumatology in Korea. I am sure that the renovated ultrasound unit will help diagnose and treat arthritis better for more patients.”


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