The role of instrumental diagnostic methods in the staging of Sudeck's disease.

Published online: Dec 27 1993

F Greco, L De Palma, N Specchia, M Mannarini, and A Gigante.

Department of Orthopaedics, University of Ancona School of Medicine, Italy.


Forty patients with Sudeck's atrophy were assessed in order to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of x-ray, scintigraphy and telethermography in staging the 3 phases of the disease. The dynamic and early static phases of scintigraphy were the most sensitive and specific instrumental tests for detecting the early stage, whereas telethermography was fairly sensitive but not very specific. Radiographic examination was not sensitive in detecting slight changes in bone density, but it was the most reliable index for recognizing the transition to stage II of the disease. Moreover, it was possible to confirm that the late static phase of scintigraphy is the index which is best related to bone metabolism.