OBJECTIVE. Scaphoid fractures are relatively common. If not treated promptly there may be risk of long-term disability. However, unnecessary wrist immobilization is inconvenient and may hinder professional activities. Therefore, early accurate diagnosis is essential. Currently, the American College of Radiology deems MRI and radiographs as the most appropriate investigations in imaging acute scaphoid trauma. Our objective was to assess scaphoid imaging protocols. MATERIALS AND METHODS. To assess scaphoid imaging protocols, an international survey of imaging practice was performed. Two hundred hospitals worldwide were sent a survey regarding their scaphoid trauma imaging protocols. Only replies from hospitals that had full CT, MRI, and scintigraphy facilities were accepted. RESULTS. Data were obtained from 105 hospitals, of which 23 had fixed protocols. The number of scaphoid radiographic views varied from two to six. Before second-line investigations were initiated, repeat radiographs were usually performed in 76 of the 105 hospitals. In 29 hospitals, other imaging techniques were used without further radiography. The usual second-line investigation was MRI in 31/105, CT in 19/105, and scintigraphy in 14/105. Further protocols included CT or MRI in 10/105, CT or scintigraphy in 6/105, scintigraphy or MRI in 6/105, CT then MRI (if CT was negative) in 1/105, both CT and scintigraphy in 1/105, and scintigraphy then CT (if positive) in 1/105. There was equal preference among MRI, CT, and scintigraphy in 10/105 centers, and clinical examination and radiographs were used alone in 6/105. CONCLUSION. The survey reveals marked inconsistency in the imaging of acute scaphoid injury. Although other factors may have played a role, limited scientific evidence regarding the ideal imaging in acute scaphoid trauma may be the root of this inconsistency.
- Musculoskeletal imaging