SourceCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 45, 6, (2018), pp. 605-619
Article / Letter to editor
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Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
SubjectRadboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Advances in high-resolution ultrasound have provided clinicians with unique opportunities to study diseases of the peripheral nervous system. Ultrasound complements the clinical and electrophysiology exam by showing the degree of abnormalities in myopathies, as well as spontaneous muscle activities in motor neuron diseases and other disorders. In experienced hands, ultrasound is more sensitive than MRI in detecting peripheral nerve pathologies. It can also guide needle placement for electromyography exam, therapeutic injections, and muscle biopsy. Ultrasound enhances the ability to detect carpal tunnel syndrome and other focal nerve entrapment, as well as pathological nerve enlargements in genetic and acquired neuropathies. Furthermore, ultrasound can potentially be used as a biomarker for muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. The combination of electromyography and ultrasound can increase the diagnostic certainty of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aid in the localization of brachial plexus or peripheral nerve trauma and allow for surveillance of nerve tumor progression in neurofibromatosis. Potential limitations of ultrasound include an inability to image deeper structures, with lower sensitivities in detecting neuromuscular diseases in young children and those with mitochondrial myopathies, due to subtle changes or early phase of the disease. As well, its utility in detecting critical illness neuromyopathy remains unclear. This review will focus on the clinical applications of neuromuscular ultrasound. The diagnostic values of ultrasound for screening of myopathies, neuropathies, and motor neuron diseases will be presented.
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