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J Ultrasound Med. 2006 Oct;25(10):1263-8; quiz 1269-70.

Diagnostic values of sonography for assessment of sternal fractures compared with conventional radiography and bone scans.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, East-West Neo Medical Center, 149 Sangil-dong, Kangdong-gu, Seoul 134-090, Korea.



This study was prospectively undertaken to evaluate the diagnostic value of sonography for detection of sternal fractures. We compared sonographic, conventional radiographic, and bone scan examinations of sternal fractures.


Fifty consecutive patients (26 male and 24 female; mean age, 45.2 years) were evaluated. Conventional radiography and sonography were performed in all patients, and bone scans were performed in 39 patients. All patients had acute pain and tenderness in anterior midline chest areas. Sonography was performed by 2 musculoskeletal radiologists within 1 to 2 days after admission. Patients underwent conventional radiography at admission and bone scans within 4 to 7 days after admission. Two radiologists reviewed all imaging findings by means of consensus. In addition, sonography was performed in 20 asymptomatic patients in a normal control group.


Conventional radiography depicted sternal fractures in 12 of 50 patients. Sternal fractures were detected in 31 of 50 patients on sonography. Fractures on sonography were located in the manubrium (8 cases), upper sternal body (11 cases), mid sternal body (5 cases), and lower sternal body (7 cases). Bone scans showed sternal hot uptakes (accumulations of the radionuclide used) in 18 of 39 patients. In the control group, there were no bony defects or abnormal contours.


We could detect sternal fractures more effectively with sonography than with conventional radiography and bone scans. In addition, sternal fracture locations showed relatively even distributions, and focal fractures in the manubrium were not easily detected on bone scans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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