Whenever it is appropriate during an exam, I like to point out and explain any key findings to my patients on the scanner screen. It is one of the principal reasons why my appointments are 30 minutes long.
Why do I think this is so important?
Firstly, very rarely do we get a chance to visualise the inside of our own bodies, especially in real-time. Ultrasound is unique in being the only imaging modality that can achieve this. It’s a great educational opportunity to provide a guided anatomy tour! Most patients leave our clinics with a little more knowledge than when they arrived.
Secondly, by showing someone they have a problem, for example, a tendon injury, they are provided with irrefutable proof.
A convinced patient is more empowered, & likely to seek the most suitable pathway to recovery and stick to it. And the sooner that pathway is followed, the more successful it is likely to be.
In addition, some patients request scans in search of peace of mind they have not received elsewhere. A worrying lump is scanned, for example. Indicating & explaining on-screen that it is just a benign cyst, can provide instant relief.
By seeing & believing, our patients can become more informed, empowered, and reassured.