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World J Orthop. 2015 May 18;6(4):394-9. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i4.394. eCollection 2015 May 18.

Nerve compression and pain in human volunteers with narrow vs wide tourniquets.

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Florian M Kovar, Manuela Jaindl, Gerhard Oberleitner, Department of Trauma Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.



To assess the clinical effects and the morphological grade of nerve compression.


In a prospective single-center randomized, open study we assessed the clinical effects and the morphological grade of nerve compression during 20 min of either a silicon ring (group A) or pneumatic tourniquet (group B) placement variantly on the upper non-dominant limb in 14 healthy human volunteers. Before and during compression, the median and radial nerves were visualized in both groups by 3 Tesla MR imaging, using high resolutional (2.5 mm slice thickness) axial T2-weighted sequences.


In group A, Visual analog pain scale was 5.4 ± 2.2 compared to results of group B, 2.9 ± 2.5, showing a significant difference (P = 0.028). FPS levels in group A were 2.6 ± 0.9 compared to levels in group B 1.6 ± 1, showing a significant difference (P = 0.039). Results related to measureable effect on median and radial nerve function were equal in both groups. No undue pressure signs on the skin, redness or nerve damage occurred in either group. There was no significant difference in the diameters of the nerves without and under compression in either group on T2 weighted images.


Based on our results, no differences between narrow and wide tourniquets were identified. Silicon ring tourniquets can be regarded as safe for short time application.


Human volunteers; Magnetic resnane iamge; Narrow tourniquet; Nerve compression; Wide tourniquet

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