Musculoskeletal ultrasound as an aid to palpation
Physical examination of musculoskeletal disorders is an essential part of graduate medical education.
The current study highlights the relatively poor accuracy of musculoskeletal palpation skills and draws further attention to an area of much-needed improvement at the level of musculoskeletal training programs.
The results showed poor accuracy rates for palpation of the medial knee joint line, patellar tendon, and posterior tibialis tendon, with the medial joint line of the knee being the worst.
Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSU) imaging is an effective, non-invasive method for providing feedback to the medical student and resident.
A recent review by Finnoff et al. (2015)* noted a 717% increase in studies related to the use of MSU for out-patient diagnostics, particularly in the field of sports medicine.
Furthermore, the mean accuracy of identifying a large joint with MSU guidance has been shown to range from 91% to 100%, whereas the accuracy without MSU guidance was 64% to 81%.
MSU can provide direct feedback regarding palpation skills, which can help improve the accuracy of musculoskeletal palpation.
*Reference: Finnoff et al., Br J Sports Med 49 (2015) 145-150. Click here for the Pubmed summary.
> From: Mehta, J Ultrasound Med (2017) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Click here for the online summary.