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Magnetic resonance imaging evaluation of patients with clinically diagnosed medial Epicondylitis

Kee Jeong Bae, Chulhee Park, Joong Mo Ahn, Yusuhn Kang, Hyun Sik Gong
Skeletal Radiology 2021 January 22

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in patients with clinically diagnosed medial epicondylitis (ME) and determined whether any of the MRI findings correlated with the follow-up pain level after nonoperative treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 83 patients who had undergone elbow MRI examinations for clinically diagnosed ME and who were followed-up for more than 6 months. Five categories of MRI findings were selected for qualitative grading: common flexor tendon (CFT) origin signal changes, ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) insufficiency, ulnar neuritis, bony changes of the medial epicondyle, and calcification. The mean follow-up after MRI examination was 21 months. We performed multivariate regression analysis to analyze whether any of these MRI findings were associated with the follow-up pain level after nonoperative treatment.

RESULTS: Positive MRI findings included CFT origin signal changes (66%), ulnar neuritis (40%), UCL insufficiency (30%), calcification (27%), and bony changes (18%). Multivariate analysis indicated that CFT origin signal changes were independently associated with the follow-up pain level (β = 3.387; p = 0.004).

CONCLUSION: In patients with clinically diagnosed ME, MRI demonstrated diverse abnormal findings in the CFT origin, ulnar collateral ligament, ulnar nerve, and bone. Among the findings, the severity CFT origin signal changes, which indicates the severity of tendon degeneration in ME, was associated with the follow-up pain level. This information can be helpful in consulting on the prognosis of nonoperative treatment in patients with clinically diagnosed ME.

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