Ultrasound Guided Joint Injections
Willesden Green Surgery is excited to be the only GP Practice in London (that we're aware of) that now offers ultrasound guided joint injections in-house. We are often able to provide this service on the same day with our new GE Logiq E ultrasound machine.
What are ultrasound guided joint injections?
Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. These pictures help us to diagnose things like sprains, tendonitis, nerve injuries, inflamation and tears within the soft tissues.
An ultrasound guided injection allows the doctor to form a diagnosis based on the imaging and inject medication directly and accurately into the affected area, under image guidance.
Most commonly we inject a local anaesthetic plus an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid. Corticosteroid injections are used to treat conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis or tendinosis, ligament injuries, nerve entrapment or soft tissue injuries. Your doctor will advise you if an injection is appropriate for your condition.
What are the benefits ultrasound guided injections?
Ultrasound guided injections are safe and simple. They effectively reduce pain and inflammation to your affected area, in a minimally invasive way. Most people notice an improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks. The benefit can last for months or may be permanent.
Who will be carrying out the procedures?
Dr Muhammad Najim
Dr Muhammad Najim carries out the procedures in the practice, performing hundreds of ultrasound guided injections every year. Dr Muhammad Najim is a GP with a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine, and is specially trained in musculoskeletal ultrasound and injections. He works at University College London Hospital (UCLH) in the complex musculoskeletal clinic were he provides ultrasound guided injections.
A vast majority of the injections provide rapid, pain relief for our patients. This pain relief can last months to years and it can cure the condition. The evidence shows that the benefits of joint injections are most effective when combined with a consistent physiotherapy programme. Joint injections provide a window of opportunity whereby you are pain free and able to engage with physiotherapy to correct any underlying imbalances that may have caused the initial problem.
For example impingement caused by...
To maximise the benefits of an injection it is essential that a physiotherapy program start within 1-2 weeks after an injection.
After your injection the doctor will therefore email you a physiotherapy programme with videos tailored specifically for you. We also have an in-house Senior Physiotherapist, Anish Patel, that you can see for a one-off physio programme. For regular physiotherapy sessions we advise that you self refer to the Brent MSK Physio service here.
Corticosteroid injections are safe and serious side effects are very rare.
Steroid flare-up (increase in pain for a day or two)
This is one of the more common side effects. This is a transient increase in pain that will only last a day or two. This can affect up to 20% of patients. This is a normal reaction and nothing to be worried about.
Allergic reaction to local anaesthetic or steroid
This is a rare and affects less than 0.1% of people
Changes in colour of the skin around the injection site or dimpling of the skin
Systemic side effects
Steroids can have systemic effects, even when injected locally. These may include transient increases in blood sugar levels, changes in mood or sleep, weight gain, and other side effects associated with systemic corticosteroid use. Vaginal bleeding or temporary change in menstrual cycle. Increase in blood sugar levels for diabetic patients
Please contact us, if you notice the area is hot or swollen or you develop a fever in the days after the injection.
In some cases, repeated injections into tendons or near them may contribute to weakening of the tendon, potentially leading to a rupture. This is more commonly associated with corticosteroid injections into tendons rather than joints.
Repeated injections into the same joint over time may, in rare cases, lead to damage to the joint tissues, including cartilage and ligaments.
Osteoporosis: Prolonged or repeated use of corticosteroids may contribute to bone density loss, potentially leading to osteoporosis, especially in older individuals.
Free! Whilst this isn't normally a free NHS GP service, we are delighted to provide this service for free in an NHS GP setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm not a Willesden Green Surgery patient, can I have an ultrasound guided joint injection?
Unfortunately not, this service is currently only for NHS patients registered with Willesden Green Surgery.
I've heard of ultrasound guided hyalauronic acid, ostenil, PRP, barbotage and...
What exactly is the substance being injected?
What do I need to do to prepare?
The area being examined will need to be visible so wearing shorts for lower limb examinations, or a vest top for shoulder or arm exams will be helpful. No other preparation is required.
What will happen during the procedure?
Your affected joint may be briefly examined before an ultrasound will be used to confirm the diagnosis. The procedure will explained including any risks, and you will be able to ask any questions before consenting to the procedure.
Your skin around where we will inject will be cleaned with antiseptic solution. The doctor will then inject the medication under ultrasound guidance. A small plaster will be placed over the injection site, this can be removed after a few hours.
The whole procedure usually takes between 15-20 minutes.
Will the injection hurt?
How will I feel after the injection?
You may have some numbness after the injection that may last for a few hours due to the local anaesthetic.
You should not have any pain for the first few hours. However, when the local anaesthetic wears off, your pain may return. Sometimes this initial pain can be a little worse than before the injection. This generally settles within 48 hours, you can take regular analgesics such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen if required.
Most people notice an improvement in their symptoms within a week or two. The benefit can last for months or may be permanent.
You will be able to do normal light activity immediately following the injection, however we advise against any strenuous activity for the first 48 hours following the injection. It is important that you start your physiotherapy programme 5-7 days after the injection, when your pain is improved. Pain should guide your level of activity and exercise.