Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a disorder that affects the median nerve at the wrist sufficient to cause impairment of nerve function. Elevated carpal tunnel pressure (CTP) leads to median nerve pathology, sensory, and motor changes in CTS patient. The techniques to quantify CTP used in clinic are invasive. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of a noninvasive ultrasound vibro–elastography (UVE) to predict CTP in CTS patients and healthy individuals. The magnitudes of shear wave speed ratio (rSWS) of the 10 CTS patients (10 hands) and 6 healthy individuals (12 hands), and 10 cadaveric hands were compared using UVE. The ratios of intra to extra-carpal tunnel SWS in CTS patients was significantly higher than those in the healthy individuals (p = 0.0008) and cadaveric hands (p = 0.0015) with 500-g tendon tension. We estimated the CTP in the carpal tunnel using the mean rSWS of each group obtained from the present study and the linear approximation obtain from cadaveric hands data with 500-g tendon tension (y = 0.0036x + 1.1413). These results indicated that the elevated pressure applied to the 3rd flexor digitorum superficialis tendon in the carpal tunnel of CTS patients resulted in faster shear wave propagation. These results show that UVE was useful to indirectly estimate the CTP by measuring the rSWS; thus, they are potentially useful for the early diagnosis and assessment of CTS.
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