The purpose of this article is to summarise the early musculoskeletal complications of acromegaly. Some of the early signs of acromegaly may be evaluated by the musculoskeletal radiologist. In the early stage of disease, peripheral nerve enlargement associated with carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome and thickening of retinacula, such as A1 pulley in trigger finger, represent the features that may be seen by radiologists and are worthy of an endocrinological evaluation. Due to the insidious nature of the disease, the diagnosis of acromegaly is significantly delayed. Few and nonspecific symptoms characterise the initial phases of the disease, and therefore, most patients will have generally consulted many specialists (most frequently musculoskeletal radiologists) before an adequate endocrinological assessment is performed. For this reason, initial clinical signs are much more important than symptoms for an early diagnosis of acromegaly. The first and most important therapeutic approach to acromegaly is early diagnosis, whereas the therapeutic goals are to eliminate morbidity and reduce mortality to the expected age- and sex-adjusted rates and prevent the development of systemic complications. Musculoskeletal radiologists should be aware that these features may be early manifestations of acromegaly. When both radiological and clinical abnormalities are present, an endocrinological workup is useful to diagnose the disease in an early phase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging