Ultrasonography in the diagnosis of peripheral nerve disease.
INTRODUCTION: High-resolution ultrasound (US) of the peripheral nerves is now a standard means of assessing neuromuscular disorders in many centers. Currently used in conjunction with electrodiagnostic (EDX) studies, nerve US is especially effective in the diagnosis of entrapment neuropathies. AREAS COVERED: This article reviews the basic physics of peripheral nerve US, guidelines for its current use and future directions. Advantages of using nerve US alongside EDX studies are outlined along with current limitations of testing. The role of US in the diagnosis of entrapment neuropathy is emphasized, particularly in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). US assisted diagnosis of peripheral nerve tumors, hereditary neuropathy and dysimmune neuropathy and traumatic injuries is also described. EXPERT OPINION: US is a powerful tool in the assessment of peripheral nerve disease. Nerve US is an evolving, young discipline. There is still much to learn, but current evidence supports US imaging of all patients presenting for evaluation of possible mononeuropathy. With improvements in resolution, the introduction of US contrast agents and objective measures of nerve echogenicity, there is promise for further expanding its role in the diagnosis of all peripheral neuropathies.
Hobson-Webb, LD; Padua, L; Martinoli, C
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