British Leprosy Relief Association
A clinical and radiological follow-up study in leprosy patients with asymptomatic neuropathic feet
aAcademic Medical Centre Amsterdam, The Netherlands
bSlotervaart Ziekenhuis and Jan van Breemen Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Correspondence to: F. J. Slim, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam Zuid-Oost, The Netherlands (e-mail: email@example.com)
An MRI study done in 2000 on 10 leprosy patients with neuropathic feet, without clinical complications such as ulcerations, osteomyelitis or Charcot deformities revealed abnormalities in nine patients, with degradation, interruption of subcutaneous fat and effusion/synovitis, all located in the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) region. Since these MRI abnormalities may precede clinical complications of the foot, a follow-up study was performed.
A new evaluation was based on a clinical examination and an MRI of the same patients who participated in the initial study.
Four patients were lost to follow-up. Average follow-up period was 4.6 years. MRI abnormalities in the MTP 1 region in the first study were no longer visible in three patients, but were still present in two patients. In six patients new MRI findings were found, without clinical evidence of ulceration, osteomyelitis or Charcot deformity. No relationship was found between MRI findings in the MTP 1 region at the start of the study and the development of foot ulcers, callus or skin fissures in the MTP 1 region during follow-up.
MRI findings of interruption and infiltration of the subcutaneous fat in leprosy patients with uncomplicated neuropathic feet do not necessarily have any clinical implication for the development of future foot problems.