Ultrasonographic evaluation of the median nerve: normal and variant anatomy and appearance

Kitija Nulle, Aija Jaudzema

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2021; 21: e318–e325
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2021.0053
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The median nerve is a mixed sensory and motor nerve that innervates part of the flexor muscles in the anterior compartment of the forearm and muscles in the lateral part of the hand; palmar cutaneous and digital cutaneous nerves branch from the median nerve, which provides sensory innervation to the skin on the radial side of the palm. Also, the median nerve is an object of interest because neuropathy of the median nerve at the level of the carpal tunnel is the most common entrapment neuropathy which increases dramatically in patients with diabetes. Neuromuscular ultrasound provides extensive diagnostic information and has proved itself as a useful complementary test to electrodiagnostic examinations in cases involving median nerve neuropathy. It often happens that the cause of nerve entrapment and neuropathy are variants of several anatomical structures along the course of the median nerve. It is important to be aware and report such anatomical variations of the median nerve in order to avoid damaging the nerve during surgical treatment. Despite the frequently documented abnormalities in the pathway of the brachial plexus and the median nerve, the anatomical variations are unusual to see and are rarely reported. Moreover, there are variations that do not fit under any of the classifications described in the literature.

median nerve, musculoskeletal ultrasound, normal and variant anatomy