The utility of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating peripheral nerve disorders
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
The evaluation of peripheral nerve injuries has traditionally relied primarily on information gained from the clinical history, physical examination, and electrodiagnostic testing. Taken together, all of this clinical and diagnostic information often allows one to determine the location and severity of the underlying peripheral nerve problem. However, it may not be sufficient in diagnosing a focal entrapment neuropathy superimposed upon a more generalized peripheral neuropathy; localizing a focal lesion along a long segment of nerve which may be difficult to assess accurately with electrodiagnostic studies; distinguishing early between an axonotmetic grade of injury, which can recover through axonal regeneration, and a neurotmetic grade which cannot and therefore may benefit from a surgical exploration and repair procedure; and noninvasively diagnosing and determining the surgical resectability of peripheral nerve mass lesions such as tumors. The goal of this review is to illustrate how standard and evolving magnetic resonance imaging techniques can provide additional information in dealing with some of these problems.