Nerve ultrasound is a new tool to examine peripheral nerves and muscles. Using high frequency ultrasound probes, for the first time nerves in arms and legs have become visible. In the past, electrodiagnostic testing was the sole method to diagnose nerve problems; however neuromuscular ultrasound has rapidly evolved during the last years and meanwhile can complement the electrodiagnostic findings.
With technology advances it has has rapidly developed into becoming a more precise tool. Even small nerves of 1mm in diameter or less can be observed with state oft he art technic. Moreover, the test is safe and painless and does not expose your body to radiation. By using nerve ultrasound, a dynamic, real-time examination can be achieved.
It is especially helpful for diagnosing nerve compression syndromes (“pinched nerves”), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy at the elbow, and peroneal (fibular) neuropathy at the fibular head. Using neuromuscular ultrasound, we can detect inflammation, trauma, or tumors of the nerves and muscles.
In parallel to its diagnostic use, interventional applications of neuromuscular ultrasound have quickly advanced. Ultrasound has a high value in guiding injections. It helps to choose the path between the skin and the target structure that is the safest, shortest, and easiest.
Thus, nerve ultrasound can guide administration of medication to nerves in pain medicine (ultrasound guided nerve blocks). Due to its high resolution and precise guiding of the needle, it improves safety margins. Ultrasound helps to identify structures that should be avoided during injections, such as vessels, tendons, and nerves.
Muscle ultrasound can guide the therapeutic injections of botulinum toxin in muscle. Ursing ultrasound, we can administer botulinum toxin injections in precise locations.