Clinical, electrophysiological, quantitative, histologic and ultrastructural studies of the index branch of the radial cutaneous nerve in leprosy. I. Preliminary report.Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1975 Apr-Jun; 43(2):106-13.IJ
The index branch of the radial cutaneous nerve has been demonstrated as a constant nerve which can readily biopsied under local anesthesia and yields a nerve which is of suitable size for quantitative and qualitative studies both by light and electron microscopy. It supplies a limited but constant area where the sensory loss does not disturb the patient. Definite ultrastructural changes have been demonstrated in the clinically normal nerves of leprosy patients. These nerves have also revealed a loss in the small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers, which correlated with the common clinical findings of the absence of sweating and dissociated sensory loss in this disease. Gross damage has been encountered in nerves which showed only early signs of clinical damage even with refined methods of sensory testing. These nerves would have passed as normal on routine testing by No. 5 nylon. Regeneration of small fibers was noted following loss of large size fibers. Nerve conduction velocity may be a useful tool in early diagnosis.