Ultrasound for diagnosis of apophyseal injuries
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Avulsion injuries of the apophysis is a problem in young athletes. A correct diagnosis is necessary for establishing the appropriate treatment and the rehabilitation program. However, it is often difficult to distinguish between a simple muscle strain and an avulsion fracture. The X-ray examination is helpful only when an ossification center of the apophysis exists. Ultrasonography is considered the suitable diagnostic tool for these cases. From June 1988 to June 1993, 243 young athletes were seen with an anamnestic and clinically suspected apophyseal injury of the lower extremity. In all cases X-ray examination and ultrasound examination were performed. In 80 cases the diagnosis was confirmed by X-ray examination and in 97 by ultrasonography. Four criteria were defined for the sonographic examination: (a) a hypoechogenic zone, (b) increased distance to the apophysis, (c) dislocation of the apophysis, and (d) mobility of the apophysis on dynamic examination. These criteria are correlated to (a) edema, (b) lysis, (c) avulsion, and (d) unstable avulsion of the apophysis. Ultrasonography is a proven technique for the detection of apophyseal injuries. In comparison to X-ray examination, it has the advantages of no radiation exposure, early detection even without ossification center, and dynamic examination.
Key wordsApophyseal injuries Ultrasound X-ray Sports
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