Imaging of Microhemodynamics in Peripheral Nerves by Contact Endoscope.


Department of Neurosurgery, Medical School of the Saarland University, Homburg, Saar, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Entrapment neuropathies include a wide field of locations. In most cases, the microsurgical decompression is still the therapy of choice. However, the role of venous stasis and ischemia is still discussed controversially. Here the authors evaluated the visualization of microvessels and the microperfusion at peripheral nerves with a contact endoscope during the surgical decompression for the first time.
METHODS : Eight patients were subjected to endoscopic or endoscopically assisted peripheral nerve decompression. In 3 patients with nerve tumors, the tumor carrying nerve was inspected endoscopically proximal and distal to the tumor site before and after resection. Microcirculation was assessed by a contact endoscope, allowing a 150-fold magnification, at superficial areas proximal and distal to the compression site. The electronically stored records were analyzed retrospectively using image processing software. Vessel diameter, red blood cell velocity, and blood flow, before and after decompression, were extracted.
RESULTS : The contact endoscope was easy to handle intraoperatively without problems. All minimally invasive procedures were performed without complications. In the offline computer-assisted analysis, single arterioles and veins were visualized showing decreased red blood cell velocity prior to decompression. After surgical treatment, a statistically significant increase of blood flow was observed.
CONCLUSIONS : Basically, the application of a contact endoscope for visualization of peripheral nerves' microcirculation is feasible. The observed effect of increased blood flow after decompression should be compared with the clinical outcome in a further prospective randomized study.


Contact endoscope,Endoscopy,Entrapment neuropathy,Microhemodynamics,Peripheral nerves,

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