The advantages of utilizing different ultrasound imaging techniques on joints of human cadavers in the teaching of anatomy - A scoping review

Ann Anat. 2024 Jan:251:152179. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2023.152179. Epub 2023 Oct 23.


Background: A common approach to define sonoanatomy is a reciprocal exchange of macroscopic and microscopic information in ultrasound imaging. High-resolution ultrasound has been long established and is crucial as an inexpensive and adaptable tool, not just in clinical settings but also while teaching anatomy. Early application of ultrasonography provides medical students with a couple of benefits: they acquire an improved understanding of anatomy and learn how to use it.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review has been carried out, with relevant studies discovered in the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, BIOSIS Previews and Web of Science Core Collection. Gray literature was also considered in two different ways: (1) Regarding grey literature databases: National Gray Literature Collection. (2) For PhD theses and dissertations, the databases EThOS and Open Access Theses and Dissertations were screened for relevant studies by combining the keywords used in the search string. The reference lists of all relevant papers were scanned. Search process was performed on January 3rd, 2023. The search string was developed with the aid of and finally checked by a professional librarian. Only ultrasound studies on human cadavers were included, not animals or phantoms. If the studied subject was a joint, the article was included. Only B-Mode ultrasound was included, whereas Elastosonography, Doppler sonography and quantitative approaches including among others sound speed, backscatter attenuation were excluded. Intravascular, intraosseous, intraarticular, and three-dimensional or four-dimensional ultrasonography were also eliminated from the analysis. All appropriate information comprising articles, PhD theses, dissertations and chapters in textbooks were considered. There were solely English and German studies covered. There was no additional restriction on the publishing year. The included studies' general characteristics and ultrasound techniques were taken from them and examined. Using VOS viewer, a keyword analysis was also carried out.

Results: 142 of the 8899 results that were returned by the search satisfied the requirements. With a quarter of the included studies, the knee joint was the most extensively studied joint, followed by the elbow joint (10.6%) and the shoulder joint (9.2%). The methodological analysis includes 125 studies. Both the sample size and the ultrasonographer's qualifications were diverse. The probe position and the ultrasound method were precisely documented so that a reader could duplicate them in about three-quarters of the included studies (72.8%).

Conclusion: The current study, in our perspective, is the first scoping review to screen ultrasound studies on human cadaver joints. A heterogeneous field was shown by the methodological investigation. We suggest using a uniform method for conducting and presenting ultrasound examinations in future studies.

Keywords: Scoping review – human cadaver – ultrasound – joints.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Ultrasonography