Introduction: We aimed to identify causes of false-positives in ultrasound scanning of synovial/tenosynovial/bursal inflammation and provide corresponding imaging examples.Methods: We first performed systematic literature review to identify previously reported causes of false-positives. We next determined causes of false-positives and corresponding example images for educational material through Delphi exercises and discussion by 15 experts who were an instructor and/or a lecturer in the 2013 advanced course for musculoskeletal ultrasound organized by Japan College of Rheumatology Committee for the Standardization of Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography.Results: Systematic literature review identified 11 articles relevant to sonographic false-positives of synovial/tenosynovial inflammation. Based on these studies, 21 candidate causes of false-positives were identified in the consensus meeting. Of these items, 11 achieved a predefined consensus (≥ 80%) in Delphi exercise and were classified as follows: (I) Gray-scale assessment [(A) non-specific synovial findings and (B) normal anatomical structures which can mimic synovial lesions due to either their low echogenicity or anisotropy]; (II) Doppler assessment [(A) Intra-articular normal vessels and (B) reverberation)]. Twenty-four corresponding examples with 49 still and 23 video images also achieved consensus.Conclusions: Our study provides a set of representative images that can help sonographers to understand false-positives in ultrasound scanning of synovitis and tenosynovitis.
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