Magnetic resonance neurography in children with birth-related brachial plexus injury

Pediatr Radiol. 2008 Feb;38(2):159-63. doi: 10.1007/s00247-007-0665-0. Epub 2007 Nov 22.


Background: Magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) enables visualization of peripheral nerves. Clinical examination and electrodiagnostic studies have been used in the evaluation of birth-related brachial plexus injury. These are limited in their demonstration of anatomic detail and severity of injury.

Objective: We investigated the utility of MRN in evaluating birth-related brachial plexus injury in pediatric patients, and assessed the degree of correlation between MRN findings and physical examination and electromyographic (EMG) findings.

Materials and methods: The MRN findings in 11 infants (age 2 months to 20 months) with birth-related brachial plexus injury were evaluated. A neuroradiologist blinded to the EMG and clinical examination findings reviewed the images. Clinical history, examination, EMG and operative findings were obtained.

Results: All infants had abnormal imaging findings on the affected side: seven pseudomeningoceles, six neuromas, seven abnormal nerve T2 signal, four nerve root enlargement, and two denervation changes. There was greater degree of correlation between MRN and physical examination findings (kappa 0.6715, coefficient of correlation 0.7110, P < 0.001) than between EMG and physical examination findings (kappa 0.5748, coefficient of correlation 0.5883, P = 0.0012).

Conclusion: MRN in brachial plexus trauma enables localization of injured nerves and characterization of associated pathology. MRN findings demonstrated a statistically significant correlation with physical examination and EMG findings, and might be a useful adjunct in treatment planning.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Birth Injuries / surgery
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Brachial Plexus / surgery
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / surgery
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies