Application of magnetic resonance neurography in the evaluation of patients with peripheral nerve pathology

Aaron G. Filler*, Michel Kliot, Franklyn A. Howe, Cecil E. Hayes, Dawn E. Saunders, Robert Goodkin, B. Anthony Bell, H. Richard Winn, John R. Griffiths, Jay S. Tsuruda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Currently, diagnosis and management of disorders involving nerves are generally undertaken without images of the nerves themselves. The authors whether direct nerve images obtained using the new technique of magnetic resonance (MR) neurography could be used to make clinically important diagnostic distinction that cannot be readily accomplished using existing methods. The authors obtained T2-weighted fast spin-echo fat-suppressed (chemical shift selection or inversion recovery) and T2-weighted images with planes parallel or transverse to the long axis of nerves using standard or phased-array coils in healthy volunteers and referred patients in 242 sessions. Longitudinal and cross-sectional fascicular images readily distinguished perineural from intraneural masses, thus predicting both resectability and requirement for intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring. Fascicle pattern and longitudinal anatomy firmly identified nerves and thus improved the safety of image-guided procedures. In severe trauma, MR neurography identified nerve discontinuity at the fascicular level preoperatively, thus verifying the need for surgical repair. Direct images readily demonstrated increased diameter in injured nerves and showed the linear extent and time course of image hyperintensity associated with nerve injury. These findings confirm and precisely localize focal nerve compressions, thus avoiding some exploratory surgery and allowing for smaller targeted exposures when surgery is indicated. Direct nerve imaging can demonstrate nerve continuity, distinguish intraneural from perineural masses, and localize nerve compressions prior to surgical exploration. Magnetic resonance neurography can add clinically useful diagnostic information in many physical examinations, electrodiagnosis tests, and existing image technique are inconclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • brachial plexus
  • diagnostic imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • nerve compression syndrome
  • neurological diagnosis
  • neuroradiography
  • peripheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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