Optimizing bone surveys performed for suspected non-accidental trauma with attention to maximizing diagnostic yield while minimizing radiation exposure: utility of pelvic and lateral radiographs
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Skeletal surveys for non-accidental trauma (NAT) include lateral spinal and pelvic views, which have a significant radiation dose.
To determine whether pelvic and lateral spinal radiographs should routinely be performed during initial bone surveys for suspected NAT.
Materials and methods
The radiology database was queried for the period May 2005 to May 2011 using CPT codes for skeletal surveys for suspected NAT. Studies performed for skeletal dysplasia and follow-up surveys were excluded. Initial skeletal surveys were reviewed to identify fractures present, including those identified only on lateral spinal and/or pelvic radiographs. Clinical information and MR imaging was reviewed for the single patient with vertebral compression deformities.
Of the 530 children, 223 (42.1%) had rib and extremity fractures suspicious for NAT. No fractures were identified solely on pelvic radiographs. Only one child (<0.2%) had vertebral compression deformities identified on a lateral spinal radiograph. This infant had rib and extremity fractures and was clinically paraplegic. MR imaging confirmed the vertebral body fractures.
Since no fractures were identified solely on pelvic radiographs and on lateral spinal radiographs in children without evidence of NAT, nor in nearly all with evidence of NAT, inclusion of these views in the initial evaluation of children for suspected NAT may not be warranted.