Ultrasound shows efficacy of carpal tunnel treatments

Patients injected with a steroidal anti-inflammatory for symptom relief of carpal tunnel syndrome are well-served by follow-up imaging with ultrasound to show whether or not the treatment is working, according to a small study published online in Skeletal Radiology.

Researchers at the Catholic University of Korea in Jung-gu, South Korea, used high-resolution ultrasound to prospectively study 27 wrists with carpal tunnel syndrome.

They scanned several pertinent anatomic structures before injection of prednisolone to establish baseline and then re-scanned at one, four and eight weeks post-treatment.

They also measured various areas for swelling and bowing, and they computed range-of-motion capability during flexion-extension of the index finger.

On analysis, the researchers found significant correlation between ultrasound results and decreased swelling of the median nerve, decreased bowing of the flexor retinaculum and increased mobility of the median nerve.

Further, all the images significantly correlated with pain levels and other clinical symptoms.

“Ultrasound is useful in follow-up examinations of carpal tunnel syndrome,” the authors conclude.