Ultrasound-guided needle localization wires in peripheral nerve injuries with long segmental defects: Technical case report

Anthony Diaz, S. Shelby Burks, Jean Jose, Allan D. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE: In cases of severe nerve trauma with significant local soft tissue damage, identification and subsequent repair of nerve stumps can pose a technical challenge. Ultrasound (US) localization in peripheral nerve surgery has recently become popular. We present a case report illustrating the use of needle-wire localization systems to identify proximal and several distal branches of an injured femoral nerve with a large segmental defect in order to illustrate how such techniques can be used to make surgical repair more efficient, particularly with identifying the distal stump(s). CLINICAL PRESENTATION: We illustrate a case of a 16-yr-old female involved in a traumatic accident that lead to a severe injury of the femoral nerve and artery. The patient presented with a 7.3-cm defect between the proximal and distal aspect of the femoral nerve and its branches, respectively. High-resolution US was used to identify the proximal, large femoral nerve, and 3 distal stumps. By enlisting our musculoskeletal radiology team, we were able to trace distal branches of the femoral nerve and see their target muscles. Three separate US flexible needles were used to locate small muscular branches of the femoral nerve and 1 to locate the proximal stump. Intraoperatively, the localization wires allowed for safe and efficient dissection of proximal and distal nerve stumps in a significantly scarred and edematous plane. CONCLUSION: US-guided needle-wire localization has shown promise in identifying the distal stumps and minimizing tissue dissection. Preoperative US guidance significantly aided in nerve repair for this severe injury without increasing morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E60-E65
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Localization
  • Needle
  • Neuroma
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Trauma
  • Ultrasound
  • Wire placement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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