Ultrasound has outperformed MRI in a minor Chinese study focused on muscle hernias, prompting the authors to recommend sonography as the first-line imaging modality for diagnosing these common sporting injuries.

The European Journal of Radiology published their discoveries online July 1, 2017. Lead author XiuPing Zhou of Wenzhou Medical University and associates reviewed the cases of 26 patients with muscle herniation confirmed by surgery. The majority of injuries were located in the leg (19 in various muscles of the calf and 4 in the quadriceps).

All patients were examined by both ultrasound and MRI, and the team compared both sets of imaging findings with concluding lab results.

They found the ultrasound diagnoses reached 92.3 percent precision (24 of 26). MRI wasn’t far behind, at 84.6 percent (22 of 26).

The authors acknowledge as limitations their study’s small sample and un-blinded, retrospective design.

Findings Conclusion
“Ultrasound can be used to observe the shape, size, location, internal echo and fascial defect of the mass of muscle herniation in a dynamical fashion. Ultrasound is a convenient method with high accuracy, it can be used as the first choice of imaging modality for the diagnosis of muscle herniation.”

You can find the full study at The European Journal of Radiology’s article.

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