MRI of the cranial nerves--more than meets the eye: technical considerations and advanced anatomy

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2008 May;18(2):197-231, preceding x. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2008.02.002.


Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is the method of choice to evaluate the cranial nerves. Although the skull base foramina can be seen on CT, the nerves themselves can only be visualized in detail on MR. To see the different segments of nerves I to XII, the right sequences must be used. Detailed clinical information is needed by the radiologist so that a tailored MR study can be performed. In this article, MR principles for imaging of the cranial nerves are discussed. The basic anatomy of the cranial nerves and the cranial nerve nuclei as well as their central connections are discussed and illustrated briefly. The emphasis is on less known or more advanced extra-axial anatomy, illustrated with high-resolution MR images.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cranial Nerves / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*