High-Resolution Ultrasound Visualization of Pacinian Corpuscles

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2018 Dec;44(12):2596-2601. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Sep 14.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of visualizing Pacinian corpuscles in the palm of the hand with high-resolution ultrasound (HRUS). In this prospective study, HRUS with a high-frequency probe (22 MHz) was used. The palms of two fresh cadaveric hands were screened for potential Pacinian corpuscles. Still ultrasound images and dynamic video sequences were obtained. In five regions with large amounts of suspected Pacinian corpuscles, tissue blocks were excised and histologically processed, and corresponding slices were compared with ultrasound images. Further, the transverse diameters of five Pacinian corpuscles, at the level of the metacarpal heads in the palm, were assessed on both sides (in total 100) in healthy volunteers. On ultrasound, Pacinian corpuscles presented as echolucent dots in the subcutis, adjacent to digital nerves and vessels and located 2-3 mm beneath the surface. On histologic sections, these echolucent dots corresponded to Pacinian corpuscles with respect to their position and topographic relationships. The mean transverse diameter for all volunteers was 1.40 ± 0.23 mm (range: 0.8-2.2 mm). This study confirms the ability to reliably visualize Pacinian corpuscles with HRUS, which contributes to our basic understanding of ultrasonographically visible subcutaneous structures and may enhance the diagnosis of pathologies related to Pacinian corpuscles.

Keywords: Histology; Pacinian corpuscle; Painful nodule; Palm; Ultrasonography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pacinian Corpuscles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Young Adult