The usefulness of the radiologic skeletal survey in the assessment of children who were suspected of being abused on neglected was studied. During a 2½-year period at one pediatric hospital, 331 skeletal surveys were performed to aid in the evaluation of possible child maltreatment. Of the 331 surveys, 38 (11.5%) showed evidence of trauma. But, in 30 of the 38 skeletal surveys, trauma was either previously known or suspected by the examiner. Therefore, in only eight cases did the skeletal survey provide new information that was helpful in the investigation of possible abuse or neglect which would have remained undiscovered without the skeletal survey. The age, sex, and clinical signs of the subjects were analyzed in an attempt to identify factors that might predict skeletal surveys with positive radiologic findings. Consideration is given to the costs and risks of skeletal surveys v potential benefits.

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