High-frequency ultrasound (US) is an efficient, rapid and inexpensive altenative to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for investigation of diseases in the soft tissues of the wrist and hand. US allows detection of foreign bodies and the reliable identification of a variety of traumatic lesions affecting tendons, annular pulleys, ligaments, vessels and nerves. Inflammatory diseases of tendons, including acute and chronic tenosynovitis and some degenerative conditions in the wrist and hand, can also be diagnosed. In entrapment neuropathies, US is able to identify nerve shape changes and possible extrinsic space-occupying lesions that may cause nerve compression within the tunnels. In patients with localized swelling of the hand or wrist, US is able to assess the presence of an expansile lesion and to characterize its nature in most cases. The objective of this article is to review the main findings and the primary indications of US in the investigation of disorders of the hand and wrist.
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