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Musculoskeletal (MSK) Sonography Increasingly Recognized

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is a globally-recognized organization that has certified more than 80,000 ultrasound technologists and other sonography professionals. It administers various specialized credentials which include RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer), RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer), RVT (Registered Vascular Technologist), RPVI (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation) and RMSK (Registered in Musculoskeletal sonography).

Male back muscular system anatomy

For those interested in pursuing their RMSK credential, the next testing round takes place between March 12 and April 12, 2014. The deadline to apply is March 11th.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal (MSK) ultrasound involves imaging bones, muscles, nerves and soft tissues in order to diagnose the potential presence of injuries or disorders. It is a relatively new application–one of the very first documented case of MSK sonography is from the early 70s, although K.T. Dussik is credited with publishing a study on musculoskeletal sonography in 1958, according to D. Kane W. Grassi et al.

“US [Ultrasound] is the most practical and rapid method of obtaining images of the MSK system,” wrote Pravin Patil and Bhaskar Dasgupta in their Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease article (“Role of diagnostic ultrasound in the assessment of musculoskeletal diseases”, October 2012). “It can be performed readily in the clinic, with assessment of multiple joints at the same appointment, providing a ‘one stop’ answer to many MSK problems. This relatively inexpensive technology with the benefits of portability and real-time dynamic examination has made it possible to provide a diagnostics service in the community or even on the sports field.”

Although there are limitations (for example, MRI has been said to be more effective at imaging deeper structures) ultrasound is increasingly considered a valuable tool for assessing/diagnosing MSK cases, such as various forms of arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendon or muscle tears, soft tissue tumors, hip dislocations (i.e. among infants), internal bleeding in muscles and joints, and other conditions.

RMSK Credential

Beth W. Orenstein, in her article SDMS News Wave article “Interest in Musculoskeletal Sonography Growing in America” (Augusta 2010), stated ARDMS’ decision to offer an RSMK credential is an indicator of the increasing significance of this application of ultrasound. The ARDMS’ first RSMK credentialing exam was administered in the fall of 2012.

[Update April 8, 2015]: Currently, ARDMS’ RSMK credential is only available to physicians. However, according to a January 21, 2015 press release, the ARDMS is working on a certification in musculoskeletal ultrasound program for sonographers.

For more information, visit: www.ARDMS.org/RMSK

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