The diagnosis of peripheral nerve lesions relies on clinical history, physical examination, electrodiagnostic studies, and radiography. Magnetic resonance neurography offers high-resolution visualization of structural peripheral nerve lesions. The availability of MR neurography may be limited, and the costs can be significant. By comparison, ultrasonography is a portable, dynamic, and economic technology. The authors explored the clinical applicability of high-resolution ultrasonography in the preoperative and intraoperative management of peripheral nerve lesions.The authors completed a retrospective analysis of 13 patients undergoing ultrasonographic evaluation and surgical treatment of nerve lesions at their institution (nerve entrapment , trauma , and tumor ). Ultrasonography was used for diagnostic (12 of 13 cases) and intraoperative management (6 of 13 cases). The authors examine the initial impact of ultrasonography on clinical management.Ultrasonography was an effective imaging modality that augmented electrophysiological and other neuroimaging studies. The modality provided immediate visualization of a sutured peroneal nerve after a basal cell excision, prompting urgent surgical exploration. Ultrasonography was used intraoperatively in 2 cases to identify postoperative neuromas after mastectomy, facilitating focused excision. Ultrasonography correctly diagnosed an inflamed lymph node in a patient in whom MR imaging studies had detected a schwannoma, and the modality correctly diagnosed a tendinopathy in another patient referred for ulnar neuropathy. Ultrasonography was used in 6 patients to guide the surgical approach and to aid in intraoperative localization; it was invaluable in localizing the proximal segment of a radial nerve sectioned by a humerus fracture. In all cases, ultrasonography demonstrated the correct lesion diagnosis and location (100%); in 7 (58%) of 12 cases, ultrasonography provided the correct diagnosis when other imaging and electrophysiological studies were inconclusive or inadequate.High-resolution ultrasonography may provide an economical and accurate imaging modality with utility in diagnosis and management of peripheral nerve lesions. Further research is required to assess the role of ultrasonography in evaluation of peripheral nerve pathology.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2010.2.JNS091324
View details for Web of Science ID 000285669500041
View details for PubMedID 20225925