We studied 20 normal subjects, 22 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, and 15 with ulnar neuropathy at the elbow to compare the diagnostic accuracy of infrared thermography with that of conventional electrodiagnostic studies. We found abnormal thermograms in 55% of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and 47% with ulnar neuropathy, using 2.5 SD from the normal mean as criteria for abnormality. The abnormalities consisted of either an increase in interside temperature difference in the fingers and hands or an alteration of the normal thenar-hypothenar temperature gradient in the fingers. The sensitivity of thermography was considerably lower than that of conventional electrodiagnostic methods. Moreover, the thermographic abnormalities were nonspecific, and could be misleading as they did not reliably identify the side of lesion or distinguish between median or ulnar nerve involvement. Thus, thermography is not helpful in the diagnosis of these two common entrapment neuropathies.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989R746300001
View details for PubMedID 2909896