Friday, November 02, 2012

The use of ultrasonography in diagnosis and management of superficial fascial space infections.

The use of ultrasonography in diagnosis and management of superficial fascial space infections.

May 2012


Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, S.M.B.T Dental College and Hospital, Amrutnagar, Sangamner, Maharashtra, India.


Aims and Objectives: To evaluate the role of ultrasonography as a diagnostic aid to differentiate cellulitis from abscess; and efficacy of ultrasound-guided surgical drainage of superficial abscesses in the maxillofacial region. 

Materials and Methods: a total of 26 patients with acute facial swellings were included in the study. Clinical examination confirmed the presence of space infection. Ultrasonographic examination of the swelling was then performed. If ultrasound images showed no collection and only thickness of subcutaneous tissue and muscle involved were increased, then the diagnosis was made as cellulitis. When collection was identified, diagnosis was made as abscess. Dimensions of abscess cavity, amount of pus collected, and depth of the center of the abscess cavity from the skin surface were recorded. Pus evacuation was then prime consideration either by needle aspiration or by incision and drainage. The amount of collection recorded on ultrasonography was compared with that drained at the time of surgery. 

Results: of 26 patients, 14 patients were diagnosed with cellulitis and the remaining 12 patients with abscesses in the maxillofacial region. Five of 12 cases of abscess were managed with ultrasound-guided needle aspiration; rest seven cases underwent the incision and drainage procedure. Clinical specificity (69.23%) was found to be poorer than ultrasound specificity (100 %), both clinical and ultrasound showed the same percentage of sensitivity (92.30%) 

Conclusions: from our experience we can conclude that ultrasonography is an inexpensive and non-invasive diagnostic technique that should be used to supplement clinical examination in patients with superficial fascial space infection.

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