What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2018
  • Author: Steven J Parrillo, DO, FACOEP, FACEP; Chief Editor: Andrew K Chang, MD, MS  more...
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Although not required for diagnosis, these studies have been advocated for a variety of reasons.

  • Three-phase bone scan and gadolinium magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been used to diagnose and stage the disease.

  • Standard radiographic findings are normal in as many as 30% of patients. However, they may show osteoporosis as soon as 3-5 weeks of onset.

  • Laser Doppler flow studies have been used to monitor background vasomotor control.

  • A cold pressor test performed in conjunction with thermographic imaging observes vasoconstrictor response.

  • Functional MRI (fMRI) has been used to demonstrate that allodynic stimulation produces objective findings. [35]

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