Musculoskeletal sonography use in physiatry: a single-center one-year analysis

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 May;89(5):385-9. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181d89e63.


Objective: To document the musculoskeletal ultrasonography experience in a physiatry clinic for 1 yr and to find out whether its use decreased time, cost, and radiation exposure with regard to musculoskeletal imaging.

Design: All patients who underwent musculoskeletal ultrasonography examination (n = 309) in our physiatry department during the whole year of 2007 were enrolled. The same physiatrist, experienced in musculoskeletal ultrasonography, performed all of the evaluations by using 5-10 MHz and 8-16 MHz linear probes (Diasus Dynamic Imaging Ltd., Scotland, UK). At the end of the year, each patient was retrospectively considered on an individual basis, and the answers to the following three questions were recorded in case he/she had not been evaluated by musculoskeletal ultrasonography: (1) How long would the patient have waited (i.e., for further radiologic appointments)? (2) What would the extra cost have been? (3) What would the radiation exposure have been? Cumulative numbers were calculated for the whole year concerning time, cost, and radiation dose.

Results: According to the calculations, the total waiting period was estimated as 7620 days if musculoskeletal ultrasonography had not been used for imaging. Similarly, the total cost and the radiation dose were estimated to be euro8128 ($16,256 US) and 20 Sievert (2000 cGy), respectively.

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal ultrasonography provides a significant amount of gain regarding time and cost in physiatry clinics. We call the attention of physiatrists to this issue and advocate that a standardized international approach to musculoskeletal ultrasonography training and assessment is definitely awaited.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delayed Diagnosis / economics
  • Delayed Diagnosis / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / economics*
  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult