This scan is available to women from 16 years of age. (See the equivalent scan for men here)
The purpose is to examine the shoulder and rotator cuff for a range of conditions. This includes assessment of the joint, rotator cuff tendons, muscles, ligaments, bursa and soft-tissue swellings.
Common examples for having this ultrasound scan are to investigate the causes of shoulder pain, possible rotator cuff injury or tears, subacromial impingement (SAI), bursitis, calcific tendinosis and degenerative changes such as arthritis.
Using the latest cloud technology, Ultrasound Direct can send your scan images and report to you in seconds using Ultrasound Direct toMOBILE. This secure online service is available with every scan performed in an Ultrasound Direct clinic at no extra cost.
For shoulders please wear a blouse or separates which may need to be removed for the examination.
The opposite side may need to be assessed for comparison.
All of our first line ultrasound scans are optional. You must be at least 16 years old and you should have no existing medical condition or treatment pending that relates to the scan you are booking. If you are in any doubt about having any type of scan, you should consult your GP.
Frequently Asked Question
Why choose to have a shoulder ultrasound scan?
Shoulder pathology is the third most common musculoskeletal disorder after back and neck pain.
Ultrasound of the shoulder (also referred to as the rotator cuff) is an excellent imaging modality for assessment of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and the associated soft connective tissues.
If you are experiencing pain, restricted movement of the joint or pain following an injury, musculoskeletal ultrasound is able to evaluate these structures with a comparable accuracy to a MRI scan.
Ultrasound has the added benefit of being a dynamic examination so that the shoulder and its mechanics can be evaluated during real-time movement.
Can you detect tendon tears?
As many as 20% of the population will suffer a shoulder problem at some stage in their life, with shoulder disorders accounting for 5% of all GP consultations and symptoms lasting six months or more.
In patients older than 40 years, the main causes of shoulder pain are adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), impingement and / or tendon pathology.
Ultrasound is a well-established diagnostic tool in the assessment of tendon tears as well as several other shoulder conditions to include arthritic and degenerative changes.
What if my pain is in the lower arm?
Often, shoulder pathology can result in referred pain to the lower arm and is not always localised to the upper shoulder.
However, if your pain is localised to the elbow, wrist or hand, then we have further scan options that can assess these areas too. Please check our ”Elbow, Wrist & Hand MSK Scans”
Are your sonographers qualified?
Yes. All our sonographers are fully trained and qualified to perform ultrasound scans and many of them also work in the NHS locally. Scans with Ultrasound Direct will always be performed by a qualified professional whose primary interest is your health. All our sonographers take care to follow the latest safety guidelines and are registered with the HCPC. We’re also registered with the independent regulator the Care Quality Commission to ensure the highest standards possible.
What if I get bad news during my scan?
In the event of unexpected findings: we will offer clear advice on the next steps available to you and will offer to contact the local hospital on your behalf.
Should you receive bad news in your scan you are welcome to take time in private in our clinics to process the news and gather your thoughts before leaving: we never want you to feel rushed.