Sonographically guided sternoclavicular joint injection: description of technique and validation

Adam M Pourcho, Jacob L Sellon, Jay Smith
Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine: Official Journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine 2015, 34 (2): 325-31

OBJECTIVES: The primary purpose of this investigation was to describe and validate a sonographically guided technique for injecting the sternoclavicular joint (SCJ) using a cadaveric model.

METHODS: A single experienced operator (J.S.) completed 13 sonographically guided SCJ injections on 7 unembalmed cadaveric specimens (4 male and 3 female) using an out-of-plane, caudad-to-cephalad technique to place 1 mL of diluted blue latex into the joint. Within 72 hours, study coinvestigators dissected each specimen to determine the injectate location.

RESULTS: All 13 injections accurately placed latex into the SCJ with a predilection for the clavicular side (accuracy, 100%; 95% confidence interval, 73%-100%). Three injections (23%) placed all latex on the clavicular side of the SCJ in the presence of a complete intra-articular disk. Dissection revealed incomplete degenerated disks in the remaining 10 joints. Seven of these injections (54%) clearly placed more than 80% of the latex on the clavicular side, whereas the remaining 3 injections (23%) showed nearly equal latex distribution between the clavicular and sternal sides. No injection resulted in neurovascular injury or extracapsular flow.

CONCLUSIONS: Sonographically guided SCJ injections can be considered in the diagnosis and management of patients presenting with medial shoulder pain syndromes and, using the technique described herein, have a predilection to target the clavicular portion of the joint. In younger patients with possible complete intra-articular disks or in patients with sternal-side conditions, practitioners should consider confirming sternal-side flow after injection or attempt to specifically target the sternal side of the joint.

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