Plastic Surgeon–Led Ultrasound

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Abstract

Background:

Portable high-frequency ultrasound is a useful adjunct to a plastic surgeon's practice. With a short learning curve, this patient-friendly imaging modality has a variety of uses that aid patient management/treatment plans. The authors describe clinical cases and review the literature regarding ultrasound performed by the surgeon.

Methods:

The Sonosite S-Nerve machine with the L25X transducer was used (depth, 4.3 cm). Clinical cases that ordinarily would have been referred to the radiology department were taken from the day-to-day practice of the senior author (M.G.). The clinical scenarios ranged from acute presentations to planned elective settings.

Results:

Ultrasound was a useful adjunct in a variety of applications, ranging from acute hand trauma visualizing neurovascular bundles and tendons, to elements of reconstructive breast surgery such as fat grafting over an implant and scar release. The ultrasound machine was also used for determination of the depth and size of collections such as seromas to facilitate drainage, for identification of lymph nodes before transfer, and for acute presentations of conditions ranging from undiagnosed swelling to foreign body localization.

Conclusions:

The portable ultrasound machine has become an invaluable tool in the senior author’s practice. In a short time and with a short learning curve, the authors’ unit identified numerous applications for its use. From a patient perspective, it is noninvasive/nonpainful and has no deleterious radiation effects, and treatment plans can be enacted without delay. It is highly recommended that surgeons become familiar with this imaging modality and assimilate it into their daily practice.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, V.

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