Nerve ultrasound in diabetic polyneuropathy: correlation with clinical characteristics and electrodiagnostic testing

Muscle Nerve. 2013 Mar;47(3):379-84. doi: 10.1002/mus.23625. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Introduction: Diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) is increasingly prevalent in the USA, but nerve ultrasound (US) findings have not been assessed systematically. Our aim was to establish the sonographic characteristics of lower extremity nerves in DPN and correlate them with electrodiagnostic (EDx) findings.

Methods: Consecutive patients (n = 25) with evidence of DPN and 25 patient controls without DPN underwent blinded US imaging of the fibular and sural nerves. Nerve cross-sectional area (CSA), diameter and echogenicity were recorded.

Results: There were no differences in fibular or sural nerve CSA, diameter, or echogenicity between the 2 groups. No correlations between nerve CSA and EDx studies were found. In DPN, there were moderate inverse correlations with age (r = -0.44 sural ankle, r = -0.39 sural leg, r = -0.45 fibular ankle).

Conclusions: US measurements of lower extremity nerves in DPN do not differ from controls or correlate with EDx findings. Novel US techniques and/or pedal nerve US may be necessary to detect differences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / pathology
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peroneal Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Peroneal Nerve / pathology
  • Sural Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Sural Nerve / pathology
  • Ultrasonography