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  • Author or Editor: Gregor Antoniadis x
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Ralph W. Koenig, Maria T. Pedro, Christian P. G. Heinen, Thomas Schmidt, Hans-Peter Richter, Gregor Antoniadis and Thomas Kretschmer

High-resolution ultrasonography is a noninvasive, readily applicable imaging modality, capable of depicting real-time static and dynamic morphological information concerning the peripheral nerves and their surrounding tissues. Continuous progress in ultrasonographic technology results in highly improved spatial and contrast resolution. Therefore, nerve imaging is possible to a fascicular level, and most peripheral nerves can now be depicted along their entire anatomical course. An increasing number of publications have evaluated the role of high-resolution ultrasonography in peripheral nerve diseases, especially in peripheral nerve entrapment.

Ultrasonography has been shown to be a precious complementary tool for assessing peripheral nerve lesions with respect to their exact location, course, continuity, and extent in traumatic nerve lesions, and for assessing nerve entrapment and tumors. In this article, the authors discuss the basic technical considerations for using ultrasoniography in peripheral nerve assessment, and some of the clinical applications are illustrated.

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Ralph W. Koenig, Thomas E. Schmidt, Christian P. G. Heinen, Christian R. Wirtz, Thomas Kretschmer, Gregor Antoniadis and Maria T. Pedro

Object

Surgical treatment of nerve lesions in continuity remains difficult, even in the most experienced hands. The regenerative potential of those injuries can be evaluated by intraoperative electrophysiological studies and/or intraneural dissection. The present study examines the value of intraoperative high-frequency ultrasound as an imaging tool for decision making in the management of traumatic nerve lesions in continuity.

Methods

Intraoperative high-frequency ultrasound was applied to 19 traumatic or iatrogenic nerve lesions of differing extents. The information obtained was correlated with intraoperative electrophysiological, microsurgical intraneural dissection, and histopathological findings in resected nerve segments.

Results

The intraoperative application of high-resolution, high-frequency ultrasound enabled morphological examination of nerve lesions in continuity, with good image quality. The assessment of the severity of the underlying nerve injury matched perfectly with the judgment obtained from intraoperative electrophysiological studies. Both intraneural nerve dissection and neuropathological examination of the resected nerve segments confirmed the sonographic findings. In addition, intraoperative ultrasound proved to be very time efficient.

Conclusions

With intraoperative ultrasound, the extent of traumatic peripheral nerve lesions can be examined morphologically for the first time. It is a promising, noninvasive method that seems capable of assessing the type (intraneural/perineural) and grade of nerve fibrosis. Therefore, in combination with intraoperative neurophysiological studies, intraoperative high-resolution ultrasound may represent a major tool for noninvasive assessment of the regenerative potential of a nerve lesion.