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Ultrasound Overused for Undescended Testicle Care

Use of ultrasound tied to delays in surgical management, unnecessary expenditures

FRIDAY, Aug. 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Ultrasound has limited value for the management of an undescended testicle (UDT), but remains widely overused, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Pediatrics.

Niki Kanaroglou, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed the health administrative records of two cohorts of boys (aged 0 to 18 years) with UDT in Canada: records from the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (2001 and 2011) and records from a tertiary care center (2007 to 2011).

The researchers found that ultrasound was used in 33.5 percent of provincial referrals and 50 percent of institutional referrals. There was an approximate three-month delay in definitive surgical management among children who underwent ultrasound. In just over half of patients (54 percent), ultrasound correctly predicted physical examination findings. Ultrasound was more likely to be ordered by physicians in community practice and those with fewer years in practice.

“Widespread educational efforts should be undertaken, targeting current and future referring physicians,” conclude the authors.

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