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Ann Plast Surg. 2000 Jun;44(6):605-9.

Intra- and interobserver reliability of sensibility testing in asymptomatic individuals.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA.


Threshold and innervation density tests are common clinical tools used in the evaluation of peripheral nerve injuries and compression syndromes. The purpose of this study is to determine the inter- and intraobserver reliability of Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments and static and moving two-point discrimination in 48 volunteers. Kappa coefficients of inter- and intraexaminer agreement were generated for each test and investigator. The interexaminer reliability for the Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments ranged from fair to moderate in the ulnar and median nerve distributions, and slight to moderate in static and moving two-point discrimination testing. Intraobserver reliability for Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments and static and moving two-point discrimination was slight to fair for both examiners. Our data indicate that Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments and two-point discrimination tests yield unreliable measurements in asymptomatic individuals. Although useful in monitoring neurological function in pathological states, threshold and innervation density measurements from an unaffected digit or extremity may not represent a reliable standard for comparison of abnormal values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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