High-resolution 3-T MRI (peripheral nerve disorders)

Because peripheral nerves are small, travel in very circuitous paths, and can be severely injured or irritated with only very subtle imaging findings, MRI of nerves is very difficult to perform. Using a powerful magnet (3-T versus the standard 1.5T), along with the proper coil (recording device), imaging of the extremities now has adequate resolution to evaluate nerve injuries.

Because of motion artifact, the 1.5T scanner remains optimal for imaging the brachial plexus, especially when using custom-made coils. Some nerve tumors and injuries can only be seen with high-resolution techniques. 3-T scanners are starting to be available in most major imaging centers.

High-resolution 3-T MRI
A series of high-resolution MR images of both
sciatic nerves (view from behind). One sciatic
nerve is markedly swollen (arrowhead). This
sciatic nerve appeared normal on standard MRI.

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