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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging has Better Accuracy in Detecting New-Onset Rib Fractures as Compared to Computed Tomography

Tao Zhang, Jing Wu, Yu-Chen Chen, Xinying Wu, Lingquan Lu, Cunnan Mao

(Department of Radiology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e928463

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.928463


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to explore the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) manifestations of new-onset rib fractures and determine the utility of MRI through a comparative study of MRI and computed tomography (CT).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty-one patients with mild chest trauma who sought medical care from February 2019 to June 2020 were included in this study. The patients were subjected to CT and MRI scanning within 2 weeks after the trauma, and CT rescanning was scheduled 4-8 weeks later to classify rib fractures and determine the diagnostic accuracy of MRI and CT for new-onset rib fractures.
RESULTS: Seventy-seven rib fractures were confirmed by CT rescanning, of which 72 (93.51%) were type I fractures and 5 (6.49%) were type II. MRI identified 76 fractures, of which 3 were false positive, with the diagnostic accuracy rate of 91.25% and sensitivity rate of 94.81%. Among them, type I fractures (n=71, 3 were false positive) showed the MRI “sandwich” sign (heterogeneous high-signal shadow within bone marrow of the inner layer, low-signal bony cortex of the middle layer, and high-signal subperiosteal effusion of the outer layer) in T2-weighted fat-suppressed sequences; type II fractures (n=5) displayed intramedullary high-signal intensities and no subperiosteal effusion. Forty-four fractures (all type I) were discovered in the initial CT examination, and the corresponding diagnostic accuracy rate and sensitivity rate were 57.14%, which were lower than that of MRI.
CONCLUSIONS: MRI is highly sensitive for new-onset rib fractures, especially type I, so it is a preferred method for patients with mild chest trauma.

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