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Ultrasound or MRI in the evaluation of anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) injuries: systematic review and meta-analysis
Colo G, Bignotti B, Costa G, Signori A, Tagliafico AS
Diagnostics 2023 July;13(14):2324
OBJECTIVES: Ankle sprains represent the second most common cause of emergency department access for musculoskeletal injury and lateral ankle ligament complex tears account for 850,000 cases annually in the United States with a relapse rate of 70%. Clinical examination is limited due to its subjectivity and the difficulty of identifying a specific involvement of the ligament; therefore, US and MRI are frequently requested. Therefore, the goal of this study is to analyze the available literature on the use of ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose injuries to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) with a meta-analytic approach. METHOD(S): According to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines, all studies regarding the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging ATFL injuries were searched and assessed. The data were obtained from two independent reviewers with 12 and 3 years of experience in meta-analysis. A QUADAS-2 (Quality Assessment of Studies of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies) checklist was carried out to assess the risk of biases. From the selected studies, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy data were extracted. RESULT(S): Nine studies were included. The results of the meta-analysis demonstrate a greater sensitivity for ultrasound 96.88 (95% CI 94 to 99) (fixed effects); 97 (95% CI 94 to 99) (random effects)] compared to MRI 88.50 (95% CI 85 to 91) (fixed effects); 86.98 (95% CI 77 to 94) (random effects)], p < 0.05. The result of this meta-analysis shows that the less expensive diagnostic technique is also the most sensitive for the diagnosis of ATFL tears. Ultrasound articles resulted to have non-heterogeneity [(p = 0.2816; Idegree = 21.4607%)]. CONCLUSION(S): This meta-analysis demonstrates that US appears to be a highly sensitive diagnostic technique for diagnosing tears of the ATFL. Compared to MRI, the sensitivity of US result was higher.
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