High-resolution ultrasound in combat-related peripheral nerve injuries

Jonathan K. Smith*, Matthew E. Miller, Craig G. Carroll, Walter J. Faillace, Leon J. Nesti, Christina M. Cawley, Mark E. Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: Peripheral nerve injuries (PNI) sustained in combat are typically severe and are frequently associated with marked soft tissue damage, anatomic distortion, and retained metallic fragments. These features complicate clinical and electrodiagnostic assessment and may preclude MRI. Methods: We describe 4 cases of military personnel who sustained high-velocity gunshot wounds or blasts with metal fragment injuries in which high resolution peripheral nerve ultrasound (US) proved beneficial. Results: In these cases, the clinical and electrodiagnostic exams provided inadequate localization and severity data of the nerve injuries, and MRI was either precluded or provided no additional information. In each case, US disclosed focal nerve segment abnormalities, including regions of focal enlargement and nerve discontinuity with end-bulb neuroma, which guided surgical planning for nerve repair. The findings on US were subsequently confirmed intra-operatively. Conclusions: High resolution peripheral nerve US is a useful modality in assessment of combat-related PNI. Muscle Nerve, 2016 Muscle Nerve 54: 1139–1144, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1144
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • axonotmesis
  • combat trauma
  • nerve surgery
  • neurotmesis
  • peripheral nerve trauma
  • ultrasound


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