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Dermatology Online Journal

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Use of high frequency ultrasonography in dermatology departments in Spain


Background: High Frequency Ultrasonography (HFUS) is a rapid, reliable, and effective diagnostic technique that has become progressively employed within the past years among dermatologists.

Objective: To describe the use of HFUS among dermatology departments in Spain.

Methods: An observational, cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in 23 dermatology departments at Spanish public hospitals. Study data was collected during 10 working days.

Results: Fifty dermatologists from 11 Spanish regions participated in the study; 659 HFUS procedures were undertaken in 633 patients. HFUS indications were benign tumors (41%), malignant tumors (28%), inflammatory diseases (18%), skin appendage conditions (10%), and cosmetic conditions (1%). HFUS was performed for assessing the clinical differential diagnosis (58% of cases), surgical planning (17%), follow-up (17%), and other reasons (7%). Among the diagnostic group, the scan confirmed clinical diagnosis in 82% of cases and helped to change the clinical diagnosis in 17% cases (10% of total scans).  HFUS procedure duration was less than 5 minutes (45%), between 5 and 10 minutes (32%), and more than 10 minutes (21%). Mean patient satisfaction score (range 0 to 5) was 4.8.

Conclusions: The use of HFUS in usual practice is increasing, especially among younger dermatologists. This procedure is effective both for confirming and changing diagnosis, as well as for therapy decision making and follow-up. It is also worth remarking that a very high degree of patient satisfaction was recorded. The descriptive results reported in this study support the use of ultrasonography techniques and further reinforce their use in Dermatology.

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