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Pak J Med Sci. 2014 Jan;30(1):211-5. doi: 10.12669/pjms.301.4295.

Bone age assessment methods: a critical review.

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Dr. Arsalan Manzoor Mughal, MBBS, M. Phil Candidate, Senior Lecturer, Department of Anatomy, Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Nuzhat Hassan, MBBS, M.Phil (Anatomy), Professor & Head of Anatomy Department, Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Anwar Ahmed, MBBS, FMRD, MD, FCPS, Associate Professor of Diagnostic Imaging Dr. Ziauddin Hospital, North Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan.


The bone age of a child indicates his/her level of biological and structural maturity better than the chronological age calculated from the date of birth. Radiography of the hand & wrist is the commonest modality used to calculate bone age. Automated methods for evaluation of hand and wrist radiographs are also being developed which reduce inter rater variability compared to manual methods. Non radiation based techniques of visualizing hand & wrist bones such as ultrasonography for bone age calculation have been theorized but are not as accurate as radiographic methods. By the age of 18 years, bone age cannot be computed from hand & wrist radiographs, therefore the medial end of the clavicle is used for bone age calculation in individuals aged 18-22 years. CT visualization of the clavicle has been extensively studied but requires a high dose of radiation. MRI based methods are being developed but require more research. Dental age is an alternate form of bone age determination, which also gives an estimate of skeletal maturity. The iliac bone and femoral head have also been studied for computation of bone age but no standardized methods have yet been generated. As different modalities of bone age estimation provide different results and their applicability differs in different ethnicities, we need to design studies in order to compare them and select the method best suited to Pakistani children. Sources of Data/Study Selection: Recent articles published between years 2004-2013 obtained from online search engines Pubmed and Google Scholar were used in preparation of this review.


Bone Age Measurement; Clavicle; Diagnostic X-Ray Radiology; Femur Head; Ilium; Panoramic Radiography; Ultrasonic Diagnosis

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