Paper| Volume 26, ISSUE 9, P601-604, November 1995

Diagnostic value of ultrasonography and conventional radiography for the assessment of sternal fractures

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      This study compares the sonographic and conventional radiographic examination of sternal fractures. Forty-five patients with a suspected sternal fracture were examined radiographically and sonographically. Sixteen had a sternal fracture which could be identified sonographically. In 15 of the 16 cases an equivalent diagnosis could be made radiologically. In one case no definite statement could be made radiologically but the sonographic finding together with the clinical aspect of the patient proved the diagnosis of a fracture. In four sternal fractures displaced by more than one anteroposterior thickness, the fracture itself was shown by sonography whereas the exlent of the injury could not be displayed. Ultrasonic investigation of the sternum is a useful way to demonstrate fractures that provides a similar sensitivity to conventional radiography. In contrast sonography is not suited for portraying the grade of displacement. In case of doubl after radiological examination the ultrasonic examination serves as a valuable tool but conventional plain radiography remains the standard means of documenting a sternal fracture.
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