Carpal tunnel syndrome: usefulness of sonography
- Cite this article as:
- Sarría, L., Cabada, T., Cozcolluela, R. et al. Eur Radiol (2000) 10: 1920. doi:10.1007/s003300000502
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The aim of this study was to evaluate sonographic signs described for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Sixty-four wrists from 40 patients with CTS confirmed by electromyography, and 42 wrists from 24 healthy individuals, were examined using sonography. Cross-sectional area, flattening ratio in proximal, middle and distal segments of the carpal median nerve and bowing of the flexor retinaculum were measured. The accuracies of the sonographic diagnostic criteria for CTS were assessed using receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analytical techniques. A significant swelling of the median nerve was observed at the proximal (p < 0.001), middle (p < 0.0001) and distal (p < 0.0001) segments and a significant bowing of the flexor retinaculum in CTS patients with respect to healthy subjects. No significant differences were found in the mean value of flattening ratio between the groups. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and the negative predictive value were 73.4, 57.1, 72.3 and 58.5 %, respectively, in the proximal and middle segments; 75, 57.1, 72.7 and 60 % in the distal segment for areas greater than 11 mm2; and 81.3, 64.3, 77.6 and 69.2 % for the bowing of the flexor retinaculum greater than 2.5 mm. All sonographic criteria were found in 34 CTS patients (53.1 %) and none in 3 patients. Sonography may be useful in the diagnosis of CTS. The most reliable sign was increased bowing of the flexor retinaculum and cross-sectional area of median nerve with specificity close to 60 %.