Intersection Syndrome Workup

Updated: Oct 06, 2022
  • Author: David R Steinberg, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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Imaging Studies

Anteroposterior (AP), lateral, and oblique radiographs of the wrist (including distal forearm) may be ordered. [15, 16] Ancillary studies do not help with the diagnosis of intersection syndrome but do allow the physician to exclude other causes of forearm pain. Radiographs can depict thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis and osteophytes around the distal radius.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is rarely indicated. However, an MRI scan could be ordered if the physician is suspicious of a soft tissue mass as the cause of swelling. [17, 18, 19, 20]

Ultrasound will demonstrate peritendinous inflammation and edema, and can differentiate this from other causes of swelling such as ganglia [6]


Histologic Findings

Nonspecific thickening, adhesions, and fibrocyte proliferation are seen in the tenosynovium. Histologic evidence of acute inflammation is rarely found.


Electrodiagnostic Testing

If the physician suspects a radial sensory nerve neuropraxia rather than intersection syndrome as the cause of the patient's symptoms, nerve conduction studies may be helpful. [21] Slowing of radial nerve conduction cannot always be demonstrated in Wartenberg syndrome.