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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v16.i5.40
pages 349-358

Radial Versus Dorsal Ulnar Cutaneous Sensory Studies

Van Evanoff, Jr.
Indiana Pain and Spine Care, P.C., Plainfield, IN
Ralph M. Buschbacher
Clinical Associate Professor & Interim Chair. Department of Physical Medicine&Rehabilitation, Indiana University School of Medicine,CL 368,541 North Clinical Drive, Indianapolis IN 46202, USA


Peripheral nerves injuries are unfortunately common. Neuropathy may result from trauma, entrapment, metabolic or hereditary disturbances, inflammatory processes, iatrogenic injury from medical implants, and several other causes. We set out to create a large normative database for radial and dorsal ulnar cutaneous (DUC) sensory studies. Because comparison between two nerves of the same limb can be useful in detecting pathology, we also compared the latencies between the two nerves.
Data were collected on both nerves using a 10-cm antidromic technique while controlling for temperature. Included subjects were asymptomatic: radial sensory studies were performed on 212 volunteers, DUC sensory studies were performed on 194 volunteers, and both studies were performed on 159 volunteers. Data were collected for onset and peak latencies, onset-to-peak and peak-to-peak amplitudes, area, rise time, and duration. Side-to-side differences were investigated. The data were analyzed to determine whether age, race, gender, height, weight, or body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2) correlated with different results. Differences in latencies between the nerves were analyzed as were side-to-side differences.
Mean values for radial and DUC nerves, respectively, were found to be as follows: onset latency 1.9 ± 0.2 ms and 1.8 ± 0.3 ms, peak latency 2.4 ± 0.2 ms and 2.3 ± 0.4 ms, onset-to-peak amplitude 29 ± 13 μV and 17 ± 10 μV, peak-to-peak amplitude 33 ± 14 μV and 20 ± 13 μV, and area 18 ± 7 nVs and 11 ± 7 nVs. Mean rise time (0.5 ± 0.1 ms) and duration (1.2 ± 0.2 ms) were identical for both nerves. The upper limit of normal (ULN) side-to-side difference in peak latency was 0.3 ms for the radial and 0.4 ms for the DUC study. The ULN drop in peak-to-peak amplitude from one side to the other was 54% for the radial and 67% for the ulnar study. Increasing age, male gender, and increasing BMI (radial only) were associated with lower amplitudes and area, though the effects were clinically insignificant. The ULN increase in both radial-versus-DUC and DUC-versus-radial peak latency was 0.4 ms.
In conclusion, a large normative database for the radial and DUC sensory studies has been derived that will assist in the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy from a variety of etiologies. Side-to-side and internerve comparisons were also made.