Quantification of acrosclerosis: measurement of skin thickness and skin-phalanx distance in females with 15 MHz pulsed ultrasound
The skin thickness of the extensor and flexor aspects of the forearm (TEF, TFF), and the skin-phalanx distance over the middle and proximal phalanges (DMP, DPP) were measured with a 15 MHz ultrasound (A-scan) apparatus. Twenty-two females with systemic sclerosis (acrosclerotic type) and 22 healthy females matched for age were studied. DMP, DPP, TEF and TFF measurements were all increased in systemic sclerosis (p less than 0.001, p less than 0.001, p less than 0.01, p less than 0.02). Standards for normal skin-phalanx distance and skin thickness in females were defined (mean +/- SD). DMP and DPP were not correlated to age in the controls. TEF and FEF decreased slightly with age, 0.078 and 0.062 mm/10 years of life respectively. DMP was increased in 18 (82%), DPP in 13 (59%), TEF in 7 (32%) and TFF in 5 (23%) patients with systemic sclerosis, as compared with standards defined. Noninvasive measurement of skin-phalanx distance of the digits and skin thickness of the forearm with high-frequency ultrasound is concluded to be proper for the diagnosis of acrosclerosis and for quantification of sclerodermatous skin changes during medical treatment.