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Korean J Pain. 2016 Oct;29(4):217-228. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

A pictorial review of signature patterns living in musculoskeletal ultrasonography.

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Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea.


The musculoskeletal system is mainly composed of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, in addition to nerves and blood vessels. The greatest difficulty in an ultrasonographic freeze-frame created by the examiner is recognition of the targeted structures without indicators, since an elephant's trunk may not be easily distinguished from its leg. It is not difficult to find descriptive ultrasonographic terms used for educational purposes, which help in distinguishing features of these structures either in a normal or abnormal anatomic condition. However, the terms sometimes create confusion when describing common objects, for example, in Western countries, pears have a triangular shape, but in Asia they are round. Skilled experts in musculoskeletal ultrasound have tried to express certain distinguishing features of anatomic landmarks using terms taken from everyday objects which may be reminiscent of that particular feature. This pictorial review introduces known signature patterns of distinguishing features in musculoskeletal ultrasound in a normal or abnormal condition, and may stir the beginners' interest to play a treasure-hunt game among unfamiliar images within a boundless ocean.


Anatomic landmarks; Anisotropy; Education; Interventional ultrasonography; Musculoskeletal system; Peripheral nerves; Tendons; Terminology; Ultrasonic imaging

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