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Increased Radiodensity of the Proximal Pole of the Scaphoid: A Common Finding in Computed Tomography Imaging of the Wrist

Cheung, Yvonne Y. MD*; Naspinsky, Scott R. MD*; Goodwin, Douglas W. MD*; Murphy, James M. MD; Nutting, John T. MD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September-October 2006 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 850-857
doi: 10.1097/01.rct.0000214249.59593.8e
Musculoskeletal Radiology: Original Article

Objectives: To determine whether the proximal pole (PP) of the scaphoid is denser than the distal pole (DP) in a diverse population of patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) imaging of the wrist.

Methods: Sixty-nine patients who had CT of the wrist were retrospective reviewed. We measured CT density of the medullary bone of PP and DP of the scaphoid and calculated PP/DP ratio. To evaluate the variability of PP/DP ratio, we compared the ratios of these 3 groups. These patients were separated into 3 groups based on their diagnoses: group 1, healed scaphoids treated by casting; group 2, scaphoid nonunions; group 3, intact scaphoids.

Results: Proximal pole was denser than DP in most subjects. Proximal pole/distal pole ratio was similar among groups (P < 0.05). Fracture healing, sex, and age did not affect this ratio. However, we did not study scaphoids with avascular necrosis.

Conclusions: Proximal pole was denser than DP in most of our subjects, including those with intact scaphoids, healing scaphoid fractures, and nonunions.

From the Departments of *Radiology and †Orthopedic Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

Received for publication September 26, 2005; accepted December 14, 2005.

Reprints: Yvonne Cheung, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.