The Accuracy of Ultrasonography in Detection of Ulnar Collateral Ligament of Thumb Injuries; A Cross-Sectional Study

Emerg (Tehran). 2018;6(1):e15. Epub 2018 Feb 19.


Introduction: Timely diagnosis and treatment of traumatic injury to ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of thumb is of special importance for preserving the full function of the hand. Therefore, the present study has been designed with the aim of evaluating the accuracy of ultrasonography in detection of these injuries.

Methods: The present diagnostic accuracy study was performed on trauma patients over 15 years old who had clinical evidence of injury to UCL of thumb and were admitted to the emergency department. All patients were evaluated regarding injury to the mentioned ligament via ultrasonography and MRI and finally, the accuracy of ultrasonography in this regard was measured considering MRI as the reference test.

Results: 20 individuals with the mean age of 38.60 ± 13.45 (16 - 64) years were evaluated (60% male). Based on ultrasonography and MRI findings 7 (35%) individuals and 7 (35%), respectively had complete ligament rupture (kappa: 0.560 (95% CI: 0.179 - 0.942)). Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, and positive and negative likelihood ratio of ultrasonography in detecting injuries of the mentioned ligament were 71.42 (30.25 - 94.88), 84.61 (53.66 - 97.28), 71.42 (30.25 - 94.88), 84.61 (53.66 - 97.28), 2.5 (0.71 - 8.82), and 0.18 (0.04 - 0.67), respectively.

Conclusion: Based on the findings of the present study, performance of ultrasonography by a radiologist in the emergency department has 80% accuracy in detecting traumatic injuries of UCL of the thumb.

Keywords: Ultrasonography; collateral ligament; dimensional measurement accuracy; injuries; magnetic resonance imaging; ulnar.