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Ultrasound Guided Compartment Pressure Test
for Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome:
A Standard Reproducible Protocol

Part 1: Ultrasound anatomy of the lower leg
compartments

Part 2: A standard reproducible protocol for
ultrasound guided compartment testin
g

Marc R. Silberman, M.D.
New Jersey Sports Medicine and Performance Center

Copyright © 2020 Marc R. Silberman. All Rights Reserved.

Abstract   Compartment pressure testing for exertional leg pain
remains the gold standard for diagnosing chronic exertional compartment
syndrome.  To date nobody has documented an ultrasound guided standard
protocol for ultrasound guided compartment testing.  Musculoskeletal
diagnostic ultrasound is a highly valuable, rapid and inexpensive tool in
the armamentarium of the sports medicine physician.  From 2008 to 2020,
the principal author performed 235 compartment pressure tests with zero
complications.  A referral center for compartment pressure testing, 92.8%
of tests were positive.  Ultrasound anatomy of the lowe leg compartments
can easily be mastered with practice.  Once mastered by the sports
medicine clinician, patients with chronic exertional compartment
syndrome can be imaged with ultrasound in the office for ultrasound
guided compartment pressure testing, ultrasound evaluation for
compartment swelling with exercise, and treatment with ultrasound guided
botulinum toxin injections.  A standard reproducible protocol for
ultrasound guided compartment pressure testing is described herein
yielding zero complications by the author over a period of 20 years.

Keywords   Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome; Exertional
Leg Pain; Musculoskeletal Ultrasound; Ultrasound Guided; Compartment
Pressure Test

Cite    Silberman MR.  Ultrasound Guided Compartment Pressure Test
for Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome: A Standard Reproducible
Protocol.  Journal of Sports Medicine and Performance.  Dec 2020; 1-16.

Key Points
1. Only two entry points are used for needle entry to test all four
compartments of the lower leg.

2. The percentage of bilateral positive cases was 75.23%.

3. Ultrasound measurements of compartment size are taken pre and post
exercise treadmill stress test for diagnosis and treatment decision making.

4. Treatment other than fasciotomy is discussed.

Competing Interests  The author declares they have no
competing interests.

Acknowledgement  The author would like to thank Rebecca
Silberman for assistance with compilation of the data, Susan Acero for
assistance with computation of the data, and Kaitlin Anders, MS, ATC for
assistance with creation of the images and figures.

Peer Reviewed

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