Aim: With the present study we wanted to examine the value of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of fractures of the sternum.
Method: Included in this study were 11 patients with pain in the sternal region and suspected fracture of this area according to case history and clinical examination. We exclusively used a 7.5 MHZ linear scanner.
Results: In all 11 cases the fracture was free of doubts diagnosed using ultrasound. A fragment dislocation could be visualized in 10 cases and 1 case showed a fissure of the sternum. The standard lateral X-ray as our reference method confirmed the sonographical diagnosis in all cases.
Conclusions: The diagnostical value of ultrasonography of the sternum is at least as high as that of standard lateral X-ray. When a hypoechoic area over the sternum together with a hematoma, a disruption of the cortical bone or a step in the bony outline as a sign for fragment dislocation are found, sternal fracture is the definite diagnosis. Ultrasonography is quickly feasible, non-invasive and gives sufficient information in these cases without side effects.