Title: A comparison between radiographic and sonographic assessment of hand and wrist bones for the estimation of skeletal age in the child patient
Abstract: Aim The purpose of this study was to examine, with a sonographic investigation, the hand and wrist bones of a group of young patients and to compare the results with those obtained with a classical radiographic assessment. Materials and methods Some 25 subjects, 9 – 18 years of age, who presented problems concerning their short stature or precocious puberty, were evaluated. Each subject was examined by a standard radiographic assessment and by a sonographic investigation with real-time imaging. Sonographic examination was performed on the metacarpus-phalanx articulation of the first finger in order to locate the sesamoid bone. Sonographic examination was also performed on the second and third phalanxes of the third finger and on the distal portion of the radius to evaluate the characteristics of growth cartilage in the area. Results and Statistics In all the cases where a sesamoid bone was present, this was correctly identified by the sonogram, even up to the initial appearance of its ossification nucleus. Sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy were all 100%. The capping phenomenon seen in radiographs was not detected by sonographic investigation in any of the cases. Sonographic evaluation of the fertile cartilage of the third finger distal phalanx demonstrated a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 100% and a diagnostic accuracy of 92%. Sonographic evaluation of the radius cartilage showed a sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 100% and a diagnostic accuracy of 96%. Conclusion Sonographic evaluation of hand and wrist bones cannot accurately reproduce the results of the classical radiographic evaluation. However, the sonographic investigation may be useful, when integrated in a radiographic investigation.