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Correlation of High-Resolution Ultrasonographic Findings With the Clinical Symptoms and Electrodiagnostic Data in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Lee, Chi Ho MD*; Kim, Taek Kun MD; Yoon, Eul Sik MD*; Dhong, Eun Sang MD*

doi: 10.1097/
Original Article

There are several different imaging methods that are helpful in the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, including traditional radiography, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT and MRI offer the advantage of providing direct visualization of the structural abnormality of the carpal tunnel and median nerve, but both of these modalities are expensive and time-consuming. Recently, high-resolution ultrasonography has been reported to be effective in the study of the musculoskeletal system. The authors designed a case–control study to assess the diagnostic value of high-resolution ultrasonography. Forty-eight patients, for a total of 96 hands, whose diagnosis was confirmed by self-administered questionnaire and electrodiagnostic tests, underwent high-resolution ultrasonographic studies. The authors compared the sonographic findings with the electromyographic data and the patients’ severity scores on the self-questionnaires. Proximal swelling of the median nerve at the entrance to the carpal tunnel was found to correlate with the nerve conduction data. Also, compression of the median nerve under the transverse carpal ligament was found to correlate with the subjective symptoms. Although ultrasonography is not an ideal method of diagnosis for carpal tunnel syndrome, it may be helpful for estimating the symptom severity and nerve conduction deficit.

High-resolution ultrasonography was performed on 48 patients with confirmed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Proximal swelling of the median nerve at the entrance to the carpal tunnel correlated well with nerve conduction data, whereas nerve compression beneath the transverse carpal ligament correlated with subjective symptoms.

From the *Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the †Department of Radiology, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Korea.

Received March 24, 2004, accepted for publication, after revision, June 23, 2004.

Reprints: Eun Sang Dhong, MD, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Ansan Hospital, College of Medicine, Korea University, 516, Gojan-dong, Danwon-ku, Ansan-city, Kyunggi-Do, 425-020, Korea. (Tel): 82-31-412-5993; (fax): 82-31-475-5074; E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.