Denervated skeletal muscle: MR imaging. Work in progress

Radiology. 1993 Nov;189(2):511-5. doi: 10.1148/radiology.189.2.8210383.


Purpose: To evaluate the change in signal intensity of skeletal muscles after denervation and to determine the clinical usefulness of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in diagnosis of denervation.

Materials and methods: Denervated skeletal muscles associated with various forms of peripheral neuropathy and spinal radiculopathy were studied with MR imaging in 17 patients.

Results: On T1-weighted images, signal intensity of denervated muscles was normal in 14 patients and high in three. On T2-weighted images, all denervated muscles showed high signal intensity on at least one MR image. High signal intensity in the denervated muscles on T2-weighted images was observed 15 or more days after onset of paralysis. In two patients, signal intensity of denervated muscles returned to normal after relief of paralysis.

Conclusion: MR imaging is a noninvasive and accurate method for use in diagnosis of denervation and may ultimately eliminate the need for electromyography.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Child
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forearm / innervation
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Paralysis / pathology*
  • Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Time Factors