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Chiropractic Research Review

Diagnostic Imaging of Suspected Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathies represent a broad range of disorders frequently seen in the clinical setting. Such disorders are characterized by sensory loss, muscle weakness, and decreased deep tendon reflexes resulting from nerve compression/injury or metabolic conditions, including diabetes.

This article reviews diagnostic imaging protocols in patients presenting with suspected peripheral neuropathy.

A literature search is undertaken on the utility of diagnostic imaging studies in evaluating specific peripheral neuropathies, principally reflex sympathetic dystrophy, carpal tunnel syndrome, double-crush syndrome and neurotrophic arthropathy. Diagnostic techniques are discussed, including:

* conventional radiology;
* computerized tomography (CT);
* magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
* radionuclide scintigraphy; and
* infrared thermography.

Conclusion: The author recommends that evaluation begin with conventional radiographs followed by specialized imaging based on the pathoanatomy and pathophysiology of the suspected peripheral neuropathy. Diagnostic imaging findings, when coupled with clinical presentation, can be useful in generating a reasonably accurate diagnosis in patients with suspected peripheral neuropathy.

McLean ID. Peripheral neuropathies: a guide to diagnostic imaging. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, Dec. 1999:6(4), pp33-38. Reprints: (800) 638-8437

Chiropractic Research Review

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