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Ultrasonography, MRI and classic radiography of skin and MSK involvement in juvenile scleroderma

Marta Idzior1, Maria Sotniczuk1, Emil Michalski1, Piotr Gietka2, Iwona Sudoł-Szopińska1

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2020; 20: e311–e317
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2020.0054

Scleroderma is a rare, autoimmune, chronic condition that affects the connective tissue by excessive collagen production. If diagnosed before the age of 16, it is referred to as juvenile scleroderma. There are two major types of the condition: localized and generalized scleroderma. Localized scleroderma has a much higher incidence than the generalized type which is extremely rare among children and affects mostly adults. In either case, imaging can prove to be useful in both the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease. In this article, we aim to review the imaging findings that can be present in juvenile scleroderma, focusing on ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and classic radiography. Ultrasound provides high-resolution images in real-time dynamic examination. With high-frequency transducers, it may provide a considerable input into the imaging of skin and musculoskeletal involvement. Several findings might be present when using B-mode or Doppler modalities such as thickening and hypervascularization of the cutis and subcutaneous tissue, synovitis and tenosynovitis, as well as small calcifications. Magnetic resonance imaging is also useful to evaluate inflammatory skin infiltration or skin atrophy, as well as deeply located structures, including fasciae, muscles and joints that might not be seen on ultrasonography. This modality is, however, expensive and time-consuming, and might require sedition in children. Classic radiology can show soft tissue calcifications, acroosteolysis, contractures, and subluxations. Computed tomography, which requires a high dose of radiation, is generally avoided in children, except in very specific cases.

scleroderma, juvenile, ultrasonography, musculoskeletal system, skin