High Resolution Sonography: State of the Art Cost Effective Test for Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

American Journal of Roentgenology
Volume 168, No. 2 February, 1997


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) was initially described in 1883 and the syndrome has been increasingly diagnosed. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a number of entities which cause compression on the median nerve within the wrist. In its most severe form it is a chronic disabling condition.

A number of tests have been used to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Electrodiagnostic studies are the most common. However, a substantial number of symptomatic patients may have equivocal or negative results. When imaging studies are necessary, magnetic resonance has been the procedure of choice. However, this is a relatively expensive examination.

In the last several years, there has been a great deal of interest in Sonography to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This has been primarily due to advances in digital imaging and new probes. Dynamic Sonography can be performed on the wrist with excellent delineation of both the normal median nerve or a compressed median nerve that defines carpal tunnel syndrome. Dynamic Sonography is a painless examination performed with the patient sitting. Sonography provides information as to why certain wrist motions predispose the patient to symptoms. Using Sonography, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is diagnosed rapidly and at a significantly lower cost (less than half) than magnetic resonance imaging or electrodiagnostic studies.

Since Sonography is only used in a relatively small number of centers, there are only a few references in the use of Sonography to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Familiarity with Sonography will help the treating physician diagnose this potentially severe neuropathy. Sonography has the advantage of high accuracy and low cost in assessing patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of the complete article about the use of Sonography in diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

For further information contact:

Thomas Grant, D.O.
Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology
University of Chicago/Weiss Memorial Hospital

E-mail: ThomasG319@aol.com