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“How to Get to the Root of the Nerve-Wracking Mystery”: Brachial Plexus Imaging Made Easy
Purpose or Learning Objective: (1) To describe the normal musculoskeletal anatomy of the brachial plexus; (2) to discuss key magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences, optimizing the MRI sequences, and key search patterns for assessing the brachial plexus; (3) to review normal and abnormal MRI appearances of the brachial plexus; and (4) to depict pictorially the MRI features of the common brachial plexus abnormalities encountered in routine practice.
Methods or Background: Diagnostic assessment of patients with symptoms such as pain, weakness, and paresthesias requires a comprehensive understanding of nerve anatomy and innervation patterns. Brachial plexus MRI is a powerful diagnostic tool that enables accurate identification and characterization of various pathologies associated with the brachial plexus by providing important information on lesion localization and pathologic involvement.
We review the imaging anatomy of the brachial plexus on MRI. We also describe the specialized MRI sequences used for brachial plexus imaging and their roles in identifying pathologies. Finally, the methods and techniques for obtaining optimal brachial plexus MRI images are discussed.
Results or Findings: We present a range of abnormal brachial plexus MRI imaging features, such as traumatic and atraumatic pathologies involving the brachial plexus, including nerve injuries, tumors, and inflammatory and infectious conditions.
Conclusion: This educational exhibit simplifies the understanding of MRI brachial plexus anatomy and provides a comprehensive overview of brachial plexus imaging, highlighting the critical role of imaging in diagnosing and managing various brachial plexus pathologies.
Article published online:
26 May 2023
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