n South African Journal of Surgery - No longer Hocus Pocus. The time has come for surgeons to embrace point of care ultrasound training : editorial

Volume 54, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Ultrasound provides non-invasive real time high-resolution multiplanar quality imaging, which avoids ionizing radiation and is cost-effective. Traditionally, radiologists and radiographers have provided ultrasound services from centralised radiology departments. The development of portable, more versatile, cheaper equipment that is user friendly has led to the increased use of bedside ultrasound by non-radiologists which has been coined point of care US (POCUS). Despite the many advantages of applying ultrasound in clinical practice, surgeons have been slow to incorporate formal ultrasound training and experience in the surgical curriculum. In the current and in the previous issue of the journal, the clinical use and application of ultrasound were reported. The therapeutic use of ultrasound for monitoring the response of hydrostatic reduction of intussusception attests to its safety and efficacy. Hydrostatic reductions were performed by a combined surgery radiology team in the radiology suite with safe reduction of 70 out of 78 intussusceptions. In this issue authors report how the utilization of a centralised vascular ultrasound service is overwhelmed by an "open" service for the diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis. This can be appropriately curtailed by a request form that limits the application of the technique to those most likely to benefit. The POCUS philosophy is embraced by a further article in this issue. In paediatric blunt abdominal trauma, a cohort of surgeons and medical students underwent training in Focused Abdominal Sonography in Trauma (FAST). Their newly acquired skill was applied asa screening tool for high velocity blunt trauma in children.FAST was highly specific and when combined with physical examination was highly sensitive in predicting intra-abdominal injury.

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