Journal Information
Vol. 15. Issue 6.
Pages e149-e150 (November - December 2019)
Vol. 15. Issue 6.
Pages e149-e150 (November - December 2019)
Images in Clinical Rheumatology
Full text access
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Due to a Tophus: Low-field Magnetic Resonance Image
Síndrome del túnel del carpo por tofo: imagen de resonancia magnética de bajo campo
María Dolores Ruiz Montesinoa,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Dolores Mendoza Mendozab
a Unidad de Investigación (imagen), Servicio de Reumatología, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Sevilla, Spain
b Servicio de Reumatología, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Sevilla, Spain
This item has received
Article information
Full Text
Download PDF
Figures (1)
Full Text

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition in rheumatology due to inflammatory diseases, microtraumas, and metabolic, or more frequently idiopathic, processes.1 Nuclear magnetic resonance is a supplementary technique in inflammatory diseases of the locomotor system, which detects subclinical inflammatory changes.2 Gouty arthritis may lead to CTS due to: synovial hypertrophy, tenosynovitis, tophaceous nodules and crystal deposits in nerves, muscles or tendons. Their appearance in the flexor sheath for the tendons is extremely rare, and may compress the median nerve leading to CTS.3 Suspected CTS by tophaceous compression may be diagnosed in those patients with poorly controlled gout and atypical symptoms of CTS.4–6

The rate of CTS by tophus is .6%.7 We present a case where NMR identified a tophus in the carpal tunnel as the cause of CTS.

A 62 year-old male, by profession a butcher. He had a history of gout which was poorly controlled by sporadic treatment. He presented at the rheumatology department with “tingling” in the fingers of both hands which was more acute in the left hand (right-handed patient) and a loss of fine motor skills. An electroneurogram was performed with showed severe compression of the sensitive fibers of the bilateral median nerve, more acute in the left. Due to suspicion of a tophus being the cause of the CTS, NMR was performed. Findings (Fig. 1) were as follows: tophus inside the sheath of the flexor tendons at carpal level. The patient underwent surgery and the surgeon confirmed the existence of the tophus. The patient is currently receiving hypouricaemic therapy and there are no clinical signs of left CTS.

Fig. 1.

(A) Axial T1; (B) Axial STIR; (C) Sagittal STIR. Arrows: T1 hypointense material with increased signal in STIR, within the sheath of the carpal flexor tendon level.


CTS caused by gouty tophus is extremely rare. Its determination by NMR is diagnostic. In selected cases where there is high clinical suspicion, atypical CTS symptomatology, in patients with poorly controlled gout, it may be a supplementary test requested as diagnostic support and for the planning of treatment.

Ethical DisclosuresProtection of human and animal subjects

The authors declare that for this research no experimentation has been carried out on human beings or animals.

Confidentiality of data

The authors declare that they have adhered to their center of work on the publication of patient data.

Right to privacy and informed consent

The authors declare that they have obtained the informed consent of the patients and/or subjects referred to in this article. This document is held by the corresponding author.

Conflict of Interests

The authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.

J.C. Leite, C. Jerosch-Herold, F. Song.
Systematic review of the psychometric properties of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 7 (2006), pp. 78-178
A. Krabben, W. Stomp, J.A. van Nies, T.W. Huizinga, D. van der Heijde, J.L. Bloem, et al.
MRI-detected subclinical joint inflammation is associated with radiographic progression.
Ann Rheum Dis, 73 (2014), pp. 2034-2037
J.D. Popp, W.D. Bidgood Jr., N.L. Edwards.
Magnetic resonance imaging of tophaceous gout in the hands and wrists.
Semin Arthritis Rheum, 25 (1996), pp. 282-289
Shin J.Y., H.S. Roh, K.J. Chae, S.G. Roh, N.H. Lee, K.M. Yang.
Carpal tunnel syndrome and motor dysfunction caused by tophaceous gout infiltrating 12 tendons.
J Clin Rheumatol, 22 (2016), pp. 272-273
H.S. Kim.
Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by tophaceous gout.
Korean J Intern Med, 29 (2014), pp. 544-545
K. Onuma, H. Fujimaki, T. Kenmoku, K. Sukegawa, S. Takano, K. Uchida, et al.
Bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome due to gouty tophi: Conservative and surgical treatment in different hands of the same patient.
Mod Rheumatol, 25 (2015), pp. 298-302
Lu H., Q. Chen, H. Shen.
A repeated carpal tunnel syndrome due to tophaceous gout in flexor tendon: a case report.
Medicine (Baltimore), 96 (2017), pp. e6245

Please cite this article as: Ruiz Montesino MD, Mendoza Mendoza D. Síndrome del túnel del carpo por tofo: imagen de resonancia magnética de bajo campo. Reumatol Clin. 2019;15:e149–e150.

Copyright © 2017. Elsevier España, S.L.U. and Sociedad Española de Reumatología y Colegio Mexicano de Reumatología
Reumatología Clínica (English Edition)
Article options
es en

¿Es usted profesional sanitario apto para prescribir o dispensar medicamentos?

Are you a health professional able to prescribe or dispense drugs?