Neuromuscular Ultrasound in the Assessment of Polyneuropathies and Motor Neuron Disease

Jack Shen, Michael S Cartwright
Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society 2016, 33 (2): 86-93
Neuromuscular ultrasound is an emerging technology for the evaluation of conditions affecting nerve and muscle, with most of the research focusing on focal neuropathies. Despite this focus, researchers have also investigated the ultrasonographic changes that occur in the nerves and muscles of those with more diffuse polyneuropathies and motor neuron diseases, and this review will detail the findings in these conditions. Specific findings are discussed in this article, but general themes will also be presented and include the following: hereditary polyneuropathies show diffuse nerve enlargement, whereas immune-mediated polyneuropathies show more patchy involvement; nerve enlargement is more profound in demyelinating than axonal polyneuropathies; and muscle changes in motor neuron diseases include heterogeneous increases in echogenicity, atrophy, readily detectable fasciculations, and increased subcutaneous tissue thickness.

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