Using ultrasound as an accurate method of determining bone age: A safe method specially in young athletes

Mehdi Karami, Reza Khaleghnejad, Fatemeh Karami



BACKGROUND: Bone age determination is used in situations such a migration and sports. Radiography, MRI and ultrasound are different methods of determining bone age. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasound in determining bone age in 14 -18 year olds.

METHOD: 100 male and 100 female students between 14 and 18 years old were evaluated. The thickness of the epiphysis of the left distal radius in the ventral, dorsal and lateral views, were measured.

RESULTS: In the females most of the growth plates were closed and the rest were inconclusive therefore ultrasound cannot be used in females in this age group. In the males, a minimum thickness of 0.7mm in dorsal and 0.8mm in ventral view in 14 and 15 year olds can be used to differentiate them from the 16 and 17 year olds. A maximum thickness of 1.6mm in dorsal and 1.1mm in ventral view can be used to differentiate 16 and 17 year olds from 14 and 15 year olds. Finally a maximum thickness of 0.8mm in the dorsal view can be used to differentiate 17 year olds from 16 year olds and younger.

CONCLUSION: Bone age determination via sonographic evaluation of the distal radius is an easy, fast and radiation free method that if confirmed by future studies can be used to differentiate 15 and younger from 16 and older boys. Ultrasound cannot be used to differentiate 14 to 18 year old girls. 


Bone age; Skeletal age; Ultrasound; Sonography; Distal radius; Growth plate

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