Blood Flow Changes in Subsynovial Connective Tissue on Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasonography in Patients With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Before and After Surgical Decompression

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Abstract

Objectives

Although qualitative alteration of the subsynovial connective tissue in the carpal tunnel is considered to be one of the most important factors in the pathophysiologic mechanisms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), little information is available about the microcirculation in the subsynovial connective tissue in patients with CTS. The aims of this study were to use contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (US) to evaluate blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue proximal to the carpal tunnel in patients with CTS before and after carpal tunnel release.

Methods

The study included 15 volunteers and 12 patients with CTS. The blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue and the median nerve was evaluated preoperatively and at 1, 2, and 3 months postoperatively using contrast-enhanced US.

Results

The blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue was higher in the patients with CTS than in the volunteers. In the patients with CTS, there was a significant correlation between the blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue and the median nerve (P = .01). The blood flow in both the subsynovial connective tissue and the median nerve increased markedly after carpal tunnel release.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that increased blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue may play a role in the alteration of the microcirculation within the median nerve related to the pathophysiologic mechanisms of CTS. The increase in the blood flow in the subsynovial connective tissue during the early postoperative period may contribute to the changes in intraneural circulation, and these changes may lead to neural recovery.

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