Soft-Tissue Complaints

  • Errel Khordipour
  • Ee Tay


Soft-tissue complaints are common presentations in acute care environments. Ultrasound may assist in the diagnosis of soft-tissue findings, such as identifying cellulitis [1, 2], abscesses [3, 4], and foreign bodies [5, 6]. Most soft-tissue structures are readily visible on ultrasound, as they conduct sound waves well and are superficial. Ultrasound may guide procedures involving the skin and joints, such as incision and drainage, foreign body removals, and joint aspirations [7, 8]. While the use of bedside ultrasound for soft tissue is operator-dependent [9], it is easy to learn, readily available, affordable, and decreases overall time to diagnosis. In many cases it is an excellent alternative to X-ray, CT scan, or MRI (Figs. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, and 1.10; Videos 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3).


Soft tissue Cellulitis Abscess Foreign body 

Supplementary material

Video 1.1

Abscess has a characteristic spherical or elliptical shape with loosely defined margins (MP4 1163 kb)

Video 1.2

A linear high frequency transducer is used to detect a foreign body. A water bath or a step-off pad such as a saline bag may be used for better visualization. The foreign bodies (FB) will usually appear to be hyperechoic when compared to surrounding soft tissue. Materials such as plastic and wood tend to create a shadow while metal objects with make a reverberation or comet tail (CT) artifact. Image courtesy of Ee Tay (MP4 2950 kb)

Video 1.3

Knee effusion. Anechoic fluid (black) is visible within synovial capsule of knee (MP4 1710 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Errel Khordipour
    • 1
  • Ee Tay
    • 2
  1. 1.Emergency DepartmentMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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