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real-time diagnostic ultrasound imaging

Real-time Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging (RTDUI) is the same type of ultrasound used by obstetricians to get detailed images of the foetus during pregnancy. Until recently, these machines cost well over $100,000 and were not a viable option for physiotherapy practice. While still a large investment, RTDUI is now within reach of practices offering cutting-edge services with a strong commitment to the best possible treatment outcomes.


RTDUI gives you and your treating therapist a direct visualisation of deep spinal, deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which are essential stability muscles for the low back and hips. Without RTDUI it can be very difficult to know if these deeper muscles are functioning correctly. If you suffer from low back, pelvic, hip or leg pain it becomes even more difficult to know if they are functioning, however RTDUI provides an objective evaluation of the muscle activity, removes the guess work and puts you right back in the picture.


The image below is from a diagnostic imaging machine with a view looking down into the abdominal cavity showing the following muscles;

  EO - External oblique

  IO - Internal oblique

  TRA - Transverse abdominus


Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging


Medical research has shown that people with back problems often have a weakness of their deep spinal, deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles (your core muscles). This dysfunction permits the spinal structures to be exposed to unnecessary stresses and strains, leading to pain and degeneration. It has been shown that back pain switches off the core muscles. Even after a single short-lived episode of back pain has resolved, the core muscles do not spontaneously recover function.


RTDUI is safe and painless and the visual feedback is used to identify and retrain poor or incorrect muscle firing patterns. “Real-time” means you are viewing your deep muscles contracting on the monitor live. Therefore, your physiotherapist can explain the observations and their relevance to your problem in the first session. Using RTDUI helps you get the most out of your exercise program, whether it is done prior to home exercises or Pilates. In short, it allows us to design the best possible rehabilitation program and exercises to address your problem. The end result is that the prescribed rehabilitation program addresses the root cause of your problems and helps you overcome them quicker with greater confidence and certainty.

Research has shown that 80% of low back pain sufferers have a recurrence of low back pain within a year, but training of the core stability muscles after ultrasound scans has been shown to reduce the likelihood of re-injury to 23%.

Women’s Health
One of the complications of child birth is women often experience incontinence or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. RTDUI can help to diagnose the problem and retrain the muscles to normal function. It provides visual feedback which helps women to identify and isolate the correct muscles for contraction and to determine the adequate contraction strength for optimal results.


How does a RTDUI session work and what does it cost?

  1. Your physiotherapist may include a brief RTDUI session within a standard treatment, if this occurs there is no additional costs
  2. A thorough RTDUI assessment takes 30 minutes and is charged at an Initial Consultation fee rate.
  3. The session will comprise of assessment of your core muscle control using the diagnostic ultrasound.
  4. The assessment will provide a clearer picture of your back’s core stabilising muscle’s strengths and weaknesses and allow for better recommendations for the necessary treatment services, timeframes and costs.
  5. A half filled bladder will maximize the picture quality of the scan. Please drink 2 glasses of fluid half an hour prior to your appointment (it is not good to have a full bladder for the scan as this will impede pelvic floor muscle function)
  6. Follow-up ultrasound examination is important to reinforce newly acquired muscle firing sequence patterns – that is to reinforce and progress your improvement.

We look forward to helping you maximise the effort you invest in your own rehabilitation.

Call 3396 9111 to if you require additional information or to make an appointment.


The physics of Diagnostic Ultrasound
Evidence Based Research






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