What is the Ultrasound findings of ligament pathology?
Normal ligaments should appear hyperechoic with compact fibrillar fibers. A sprain or partial-thickness tear of a ligament appears as hypoechoic swelling and heterogeneity of the ligament, but without complete ligament fiber disruption. An acute full-thickness tear is characterized by discontinuity or nonvisualization of the ligament. In the expected location of the ligament, one will find heterogeneous or hyperechoic tissue that represents the torn ligament and hemorrhage. In cases for which differentiation of partial- from full-thickness tears is difficult, dynamic imaging may be employed to look for ligament fragments or joint widening. A chronic ligamentous injury may appear as either an abnormally attenuated or thickened, hypoechoic ligament that appears intact but then demonstrates laxity upon dynamic evaluation.