Purpose: To find a suitable high-resolution MR protocol for the visualization of lesions of all 12 cranial nerves.
Material and methods: Thirty-eight pathologically changed cranial nerves (17 patients) were studied with MR imaging at 1.5 T using 3D T2*-weighted CISS, T1-weighted 3D MP-RAGE (without and with i.v. contrast medium), T2-weighted 3D TSE, T2-weighted 2D TSE and T1-weighted fat saturation 2D TSE sequences. Visibility of the 38 lesions of the 12 cranial nerves in each sequence was evaluated by consensus of two radiologists using an evaluation scale from 1 (excellently visible) to 4 (not visible).
Results: The 3D CISS sequence provided the best resolution of the cranial nerves and their lesions when surrounded by CSF. In nerves which were not surrounded by CSF, the 2D T1-weighted contrast-enhanced fat suppression technique was the best sequence.
Conclusions: A combination of 3D CISS, the 2D T1-weighted fat suppressed sequence and a 3D contrast-enhanced MP-RAGE proved to be the most useful sequence to visualize all lesions of the cranial nerves. For the determination of enhancement, an additional 3D MP-RAGE sequence without contrast medium is required. This sequence is also very sensitive for the detection of hemorrhage.