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Ultrasonographic assessment of fractures: a break in tradition?
  1. Ian Cheyne,
  2. Elizabeth Roy,
  3. Bruce B Forster
  1. Department of Radiology, UBC Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian Cheyne, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, 3350–950 W 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 1M9; icheyne{at}

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Portable ultrasound (US) devices continue to improve in technical capabilities while cost decreases allow widespread use beyond traditional sports medicine settings.1 Using US at the field of play is an exciting advance in acute injury assessment. Images submitted as part of Hoffman et al2 review reflect state-of-the-art quality and great promise. By assessing for bone injury, athletes can be triaged on the field, possibly preventing further trauma by early return. However, ultrasonography examinations in general are highly user dependent, and lack of expertise in scanning can lead to significant error rates.

Ultrasonographic assessment of fractures has high utility and recent literature supports its use when conventional radiographs are unavailable. Specifically, multiple studies in the paediatric population have shown high sensitivity and specificity for US identification of long-bone fractures, while US assessment of paediatric rib fractures have demonstrated accuracy exceeding X-ray.3 However, much of literature on ultrasonographic assessment …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.