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Tennis player hitting tennis ball

January 11, 2019

Ultrasound at the Open

January 11, 2019

Ultrasound at the Open

Tennis player hitting tennis ball

Australian Open Tennis Championship players this year will not have to go far for cutting-edge medical imaging and diagnoses.

Australian Open Tennis Championship players this year will not have to go far for cutting-edge medical imaging and diagnoses.

State-of-the-art ultrasound technology will be available onsite at the 2020 Australian Open, ensuring players have access to speedy and accurate diagnoses of injuries, including debilitating muscle and tendon tears.

For many years Doctors Frank Burke, Andrew Rotstein and Justin Roebert and Dr Tomas O'Shea, Radiologists from I-MED Radiology's Victoria House Medical Imaging in South Yarra, have worked as ultrasound specialists at the Australian Open. They use high-tech ultrasound to scan any areas of concern and diagnose injuries, ultimately facilitating rapid implementation of treatment plans for the competing tennis professionals. In some cases, ultrasound can also assist doctors in accurately guiding injections into a particular joint or tissue plane of the injured player.

Viewing injuries in 'real time'

According to Dr Burke, while injuries will vary from day to day during the tournament, around six players per day will require an ultrasound, and an average of 50 players will be attended to by the Radiologists, with soft tissue injuries (rather than tennis elbow or wrist sprains) dominating the injury list.

“Often players will be referred to us by the medical team to investigate a particular problem. With ultrasound, we are able to scan the area and view the images in ‘real time’. This allows us to make a rapid, informed diagnosis and then work with the Australian Open medical crew and the player’s support team to ensure they receive the best possible treatment, whether it is medication, physiotherapy, rest or simply a change of shoes!

“Due to the nature of the sport and the level at which they are competing, these elite players will definitely push their bodies to the limit and some are likely to experience damage or straining in the abdominal wall, calf and thigh muscles. Over-stretching when running often results in soft tissue injuries in the lower limbs, while overhead shots and serving are usually linked with abdominal wall muscle damage,” Dr Burke said.

“At the Australian Open, our team helps an injured player decide whether they are able to continue with their dream to become an Australian Open Champion,” he added.

Tennis players with spinal or joint injuries will visit Victoria House Medical Imaging for high resolution MRI imaging.