Pages 364 - 370 Volume 90, Issue 4
Ultrasonography versus clinical examination in detecting leprosy neuropathy

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), primarily effecting nerve and skin. Ultrasonography (USG) in the diagnosis of nerve involvement in leprosy is still in a preliminary stage, but it can be used to identify the early changes in the nerves.


To assess the role of USG in identifying nerve involvement across the spectrum of leprosy.


Thirty newly diagnosed, untreated cases of leprosy were recruited and classified into paucibacillary (PB) and multibacillary (MB) on basis of histopathology findings on skin biopsy. USG of ulnar nerve (UN), median nerve (MN), lateral popliteal nerve (LPN) and posterior tibial nerve (PTN) was done to identify the changes across the disease spectrum.


Thirty patients (16 multibacillary, MB and 14 paucibacillary, PB) with a mean age of 28.83 ± 18.57 years, M:F of 2:1 were studied. The nerves were significantly enlarged in USG examination in the MB group as compared to PB group for UN, MN, LPN and PTN (P = 0.004, 0.018, 0.019 and 0.020 respectively). 41 nerves that were not thickened clinically were found to be enlarged on USG (UN 3, MN 21, LPN 6 and PTN 11).


USG can be a useful tool for identifying early nerve changes, as compared to clinical examination, as USG is more sensitive. Hence it may help to identify nerve involvement in an early stage and initiate treatment before any severe damage occurs.

Cite this article
Muthu Sendhil Kumaran, Manisha Thapa, Tarun Narang, Mahesh Prakash, Sunil Dogra;
Ultrasonography versus clinical examination in detecting leprosy neuropathy; Leprosy Review; 2019; 90; 4; 364-370; DOI: 10.47276/lr.90.4.364
Leprosy Review
British Leprosy Relief Association
Colchester, UK