Future Considerations in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Compressive Neuropathies of the Upper Extremity

Elizabeth A. Graesser, Christopher J. Dy, David M. Brogan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Compressive neuropathies of the upper extremity are among the most common conditions seen by hand surgeons. The diagnoses of carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome have traditionally been made by a combination of history, physical examination, and electrodiagnostic testing. However, findings can be nonspecific and electrodiagnostic testing is invasive for the patient. The diagnosis of compressive neuropathies continues to evolve as technology advances, and newer diagnostic modalities predominantly focus on preoperative diagnostic imaging with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging/neurography. With the advent of cheaper, faster, and less invasive imaging, the future may bring a paradigm shift away from electrophysiology as the gold standard for the preoperative diagnosis of compressive neuropathies. Intraoperative imaging of nerve health is an emerging concept that warrants further investigation, whereas postoperative imaging of nerve recovery with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging currently has a limited role because of nonspecific findings and potential for misinterpretation. Advances in surgical treatment of compressive neuropathies appear to center around the use of imaging for less invasive neurolysis techniques and other adjunctive treatments with nerve decompression. The management of failed peripheral nerve decompressions and recurrent compressive neuropathies remains challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery Global Online
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Compressive neuropathy
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Ultrasound

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