ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Plexopathy: 2021 Update

J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Nov;18(11S):S423-S441. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2021.08.014.


Plexopathy may be caused by diverse pathologies, including trauma, nerve entrapment, neoplasm, inflammation, infection, autoimmune disease, hereditary disease, and idiopathic etiologies. For patients presenting with brachial or lumbosacral plexopathy, dedicated plexus MRI is the most appropriate initial imaging modality for all clinical scenarios and can identify processes both intrinsic and extrinsic to the nerves. Other imaging tests may be appropriate for initial imaging depending on the clinical scenario. This document addresses initial imaging strategies for brachial and lumbosacral plexopathy in the following clinical situations: nontraumatic plexopathy with no known malignancy, traumatic plexopathy (not perinatal), and plexopathy occurring in the context of a known malignancy or posttreatment syndrome. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.

Keywords: AUC; Appropriate Use Criteria; Appropriateness Criteria; Brachial plexopathy; Brachial plexus; Brachial plexus neuritis; Lumbar plexopathy; Lumbosacral plexus; Sacral plexopathy.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Societies, Medical*
  • United States