Rheumatology may not be a word you hear or use often. But when you or a loved one is living with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, or any other type of rheumatic disease, “rheumatologist” becomes a frequently used term. These are the physicians who diagnosis and help patients manage the long-term treatments these conditions require.
This is why OSMS is proud to welcome our fourth rheumatologist, Dr. Michael Avery. He joins Dr. Debbie Lim, Dr. Paul Tuttle, and Dr. Paul Utrie in the OSMS rheumatology clinic, helping to increase the community’s access to the rheumatological care many need. (Learn more about what a rheumatologist does here.)
Meet Dr. Michael Avery
Dr. Michael Avery is an adult rheumatologist who will start seeing patients at OSMS on July 31st.
“I believe that to be an effective physician, it is important to thoroughly educate patients on their diagnosis and treatment options, which empowers them to engage in critical decisions regarding their care,” Dr. Avery says. “Rheumatology is a challenging field as a diagnosis or treatment is not always easily obtained; however, the research and development of new therapies have radically improved outcomes for many people.”
One of the ways that Dr. Avery helps his patients improve their quality of life is through the use of ultrasound as a way to diagnose conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and treat them.
Dr. Avery answered a few questions to help us better understand the benefits of using ultrasound.
Q: Are there advantages to using ultrasound as a diagnostic tool for rheumatology patients?
A: Ultrasound lets a physician look inside a joint to see changes in the bones and soft tissues caused by arthritis inflammation. Ultrasound can sometimes help identify arthritis inflammation before it is even noticeable in a physical exam of the joint. This is because ultrasound has a higher sensitivity and is able to produce images that show small changes and minor damage in the joint from inflammation.
Another advantage of using ultrasound as a diagnostic tool is the cost. The types of images a physician gets from ultrasound are similar to MRI, but ultrasound is a less expensive option.
Q: What are the benefits of ultrasound-guided injections?
A: Injections are used to help reduce inflammation in a joint with the goal of also relieving other symptoms like pain. Using ultrasound to guide the placement of an injection helps ensure the most precise and accurate placement, which allows the treatment to be as effective as possible.
Other imaging methods can also be used to guide injection placement. Two common ones are fluoroscopy, which produces moving X-ray images, and CT scans. However, these options are typically more expensive and both require the use of radiation to create the images of the joints. Ultrasound is usually less expensive and does not expose patients to radiation.
Q: What conditions can you treat using ultrasound-guided injections?
A: Ultrasound can be used for the precise and accurate placement of injections into most joints – from the very small ones in the hands to the large joints of the hip, knee, and shoulder.
Ultrasound-guided injections are used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel
- Tendon inflammation
Learn more about Dr. Michael Avery here. Call 920-430-8113 to schedule an appointment.