Systematic Review of the Use of Power Doppler Ultrasound in the Imaging of Peripheral Nerve Compression Neuropathy

Andrew J. Landau, Priyanka Parameswaran, Rabiah Fresco, Laura Simon, Christopher J. Dy, David M. Brogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Power Doppler ultrasonography has been used as an adjunct in the diagnosis of peripheral nerve compression neuropathy. To better characterize its sensitivity and specificity, the authors performed a systematic review of its use in carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome diagnosis. Methods: The authors systematically reviewed published literature on the use of power Doppler ultrasound to diagnose peripheral compression neuropathy using Ovid MEDLINE,, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Health Technology Assessment Database, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, World Health Organization International Clinical Trial Repository Platform, and No filters for language, date, or publication type were used. Results: After reviewing 1538 identified studies, 27 publications were included involving 1751 participants with compression neuropathy (2048 median and 172 ulnar). All but three studies examined patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Heterogeneity between study design and methodology was a noted limitation. Sensitivity and specificity of power Doppler ultrasound in the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome ranged from 2.2 to 93.4 percent, and 89 to 100 percent, respectively, whereas sensitivity for cubital tunnel syndrome was 15.3 to 78.9 percent. There was variability in power Doppler signal detection based on location, with higher sensitivities at the carpal tunnel inlet and in areas of increased nerve swelling. Conclusions: Power Doppler ultrasound is unreliable as a screening test but appears to increase diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography in compression neuropathies. It is most beneficial in moderate to severe disease and may be valuable in detecting early cases and in disease surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48E-56E
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


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