MR imaging of disorders of the brachial plexus

J Magn Reson Imaging. Jan-Feb 1994;4(1):13-8. doi: 10.1002/jmri.1880040106.


The authors evaluated 64 consecutive patients with suspected brachial plexus (BP) abnormalities of diverse cause with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, using the body coil and a standardized protocol. Of the 43 patients for whom follow-up was available, 25 were suspected of having neoplastic involvement of the BP, nine had sustained injuries, and nine presented with BP symptoms of uncertain cause. MR imaging was 63% sensitive, 100% specific, and 77% accurate in demonstrating the abnormality in this diverse patient population. When patients with neoplastic and traumatic disorders were considered separately, sensitivity increased to 81%, accuracy to 88%, and specificity remained unchanged. In the patients with a clinical diagnosis of idiopathic or viral plexitis, the MR imaging findings were normal, serving to exclude other structural abnormalities. It is concluded that MR imaging is valuable in the assessment of a wide range of BP disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Brachial Plexus / injuries
  • Brachial Plexus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / secondary
  • Sensitivity and Specificity