Pachydermodactyly: the role of ultrasonography, superb microvascular imaging, and elastography in diagnosis

Cláudia Martins Novais, Luís Soares-de-Almeida, Jorge Garcia, João Madruga Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pachydermodactyly is a rare and benign superficial fibromatosis characterized by painless and progressive swelling of periarticular soft tissues of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints, most commonly of both hands. There is no tenderness, warmth, morning stiffness, or reduced range of motion associated. Our purpose is to highlight the diagnostic utility of ultrasonography, superb microvascular imaging (SMI), and elastography in pachydermodactyly. We report the case of a 15-year-old adolescent white boy, with a 6-month history of insidious and progressive, asymptomatic swelling of the lateral and dorsal regions of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP), and PIP joints of both hands. Articular ultrasonography showed thickening of the skin around the lateral regions of the PIP and MCP joints, with no synovitis, hydrarthrosis, or muscle, tendon, or bone changes. Strain elastography revealed lower elasticity in the aforementioned skin regions, corresponding to increased tissue hardness due to hyperkeratosis. No SMI or Doppler signals were detected in epidermal or dermal tissues, as well as in tendons, joints, and bone. This case report shows that ultrasonography, SMI, and elastography may play a significant role in the accurate diagnosis of pachydermodactyly and exclusion of alternative conditions. These imaging modalities have no ionizing radiation; they are fast, inexpensive, and performed on site. They do not require usage of contrast agents and thus can eliminate the need of invasive procedures such as skin biopsy. They also contribute to reduce health care costs with unnecessary complementary tests and inappropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435 - 439
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number2
Early online date11 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Benign fibromatosis
  • Elastography
  • Pachydermodactyly
  • Superb microvascular imaging
  • Ultrasonography


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