MSK ultrasound shows signs of neglect

March 29, 2005

Most musculoskeletal radiologists prefer to use MRI in their daily practice even though they recognize the value of ultrasound to evaluate and diagnose many MSK conditions, according to results of a survey presented at the 2004 RSNA meeting.

Most musculoskeletal radiologists prefer to use MRI in their daily practice even though they recognize the value of ultrasound to evaluate and diagnose many MSK conditions, according to results of a survey presented at the 2004 RSNA meeting.

Dr. Sandra Allison and colleagues at Thomas Jefferson University sent a questionnaire via e-mail to 300 members of the Society of Skeletal Radiology and to 105 members of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound. The 110 radiologists who responded (25%) had on average 13 years of experience.

More than three-quarters of respondents said that MRI should be the modality of choice to evaluate tendon, ligament, and muscle injuries. Two-thirds, however, indicated that too few musculoskeletal ultrasound examinations were ordered, and 80% of those said that reimbursement for MSK ultrasound is too low.

Almost 70% reported that their MSK ultrasound training was inadequate, while two-thirds indicated that ultrasound required too much physician time.

The survey also accounted for the specialists' respective biases. Sonologists were more likely to favor ultrasound, while musculoskeletal radiologists preferred MRI, the researchers said.

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