Assessment of the utility of ultrasonography with high-frequency transducers in the diagnosis of posttraumatic neuropathies

Berta Kowalska

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2015; 15: 15–28
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2015.0002
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The primary aim of this paper was to assess the relevance of high-frequency ultrasound examination in qualifying patients for either surgical or conservative treatment of posttraumatic peripheral neuropathies. The study was conducted in a group of 47 patients aged 16–65 (mean age 33) who in 2009–2011 were referred to ultrasound examinations due to a clinical suspicion of posttraumatic peripheral neuropathies. The group included 30 females and 17 males. The patients examined presented with neuropathies of the following peripheral nerves: median, ulnar, common peroneal, digital, cutaneous in the deltoid area, mental, PIN and RSNR. In 21 patients, nerve injuries were partial, and in 24 – complete. In 2 cases, the nerve was entrapped between bony fragments. 17 of 21 patients with partial nerve injuries (80.95%) underwent an EMG examination. No functional tests were conducted in the cases of complete injuries when ultrasound imaging had confi rmed the result of the clinical examination. All patients underwent the interview, physical examination and ultrasound examination. Ultrasound examinations were performed with Esaote MyLab 50 and MyLab 60 systems using high-frequency broadband linear transducers: 6–18 MHz. The nerves were evaluated in the gray-scale and in the power Doppler mode in longitudinal and transverse sections for localization, morphology and the grade of injury as well as for possible anatomic variants of the nerve trunk and pathologies of the adjacent tissues. Moreover, a dynamic examination was performed, and it was attempted to induce pain or paresthesia by palpation at the site of the visualized pathology. Additionally, the motor and sensory–motor nerves were assessed indirectly based on the images of the skeletal muscles innervated by these nerves. The analyses of the collected material were performed by means of descriptive statistics. The results of clinical and surgical verifi cation were consistent with ultrasound fi ndings in 100% of cases. The results obtained indicate that high-frequency ultrasonography is a valuable method in qualifying patients for various types of treatment of peripheral neuropathies resulting from trauma.

ultrasonography, posttraumatic peripheral neuropathies, diagnosis, partial nerve injury, complete nerve injury