Muscle infarction in patients with diabetes mellitus: MR imaging findings

Radiology. 1999 Apr;211(1):241-7. doi: 10.1148/radiology.211.1.r99ap44241.


Purpose: To describe the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings in diabetic patients with muscle infarction and to describe commonly associated clinical features.

Materials and methods: The MR imaging studies of 21 patients with diabetic muscle infarction were reviewed retrospectively. Of the 21 patients, 12 were women, and nine were men; the mean age was 48 years (range, 30-77 years).

Results: Eight patients had bilateral lower-extremity involvement; six had involvement confined to the right lower extremity and seven to the left. The thigh was involved in 17 patients (81%). One or more of the musculi vastus, the most frequently affected muscle group, were affected in 16 patients (76%). Four patients (19%) had isolated calf involvement. MR imaging studies showed diffuse enlargement of involved muscle groups and partial loss of normal fatty intermuscular septa. MR imaging also allowed identification of areas of subfascial fluid in 16 patients (76%) and subcutaneous edema in 19 patients (90%). MR imaging showed involved muscle groups best with T2-weighted, inversion-recovery, and gadolinium-enhanced sequences, where the infarcted muscles appeared diffusely hyperintense compared with adjacent muscles. Comparison of T2-weighted and gadolinium-enhanced MR images of nine patients showed enlarged, enhancing muscles in all patients and small, focal, rim-enhancing fluid collections in six of nine patients (66%).

Conclusion: Diabetic muscle infarction is suggested in diabetic patients with sudden onset of severe pain in the thigh or calf muscles who have MR imaging findings of diffuse edema and swelling of multiple thigh and calf muscles (often in more than one compartment).

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infarction / etiology
  • Infarction / pathology*
  • Leg
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thigh