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Radiol Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;42(1):221-45.

Nerves in a pinch: imaging of nerve compression syndromes.

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Department of Musculoskeletal Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Nerve compression is a common entity that can result in considerable disability. Early diagnosis is important to institute prompt treatment and to minimize potential injury. Although the appropriate diagnosis is often determined by clinical examination, the diagnosis may be more difficult when the presentation is atypical, or when anatomic and technical limitations intervene. In these instances, imaging can have an important role in helping to define the site and etiology of nerve compression or in establishing an alternative diagnosis. MR imaging and ultrasound provide direct visualization of the nerve and surrounding abnormalities. For both modalities, the use of high-resolution techniques is important. Bony abnormalities contributing to nerve compression are best assessed by radiographs or CT. For the radiologist, knowledge of the anatomy of the fibro-osseous tunnels, familiarity with the causes of nerve compression, and an understanding of specialized imaging techniques are important for successful diagnosis of nerve compression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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