Article Abstract

Thoracic wall trauma—misdiagnosed lesions on radiographs and usefulness of ultrasound, multidetector computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging

Authors: Xavier Tomas, Catherine Facenda, Nuno Vaz, Edgar Augusto Castañeda, Montserrat del Amo, Ana Isabel Garcia-Diez, Jaime Pomes


Blunt injuries to the chest wall are an important chapter on emergency room (ER) departments, being the third most common injuries in trauma patients which ominous complications could appear. This article describes different types of traumatic events affecting the chest wall, which maybe misdiagnosed with conventional X-ray. Special emphasis has been done in computed tomography (CT) and multidetector CT (MDCT) imaging. This technique is considered the “gold-standard” for those traumatic patients, due to its fast acquisition covering the whole area of interest in axial plane, reconstructing multiplanar (2D, 3D) volume-rendered images with a superb quality and angiographic CT capabilities for evaluating vascular damage. Complementary techniques such as ultrasonography (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may improve the diagnostic accuracy due to its great capacity in visualising soft-tissue trauma (muscle-tendinous tears) and subtle fractures. All these imaging methods have an important role in quantifying the severity of chest wall trauma. The findings of this study have been exposed with cases of our archives in a didactic way.