Magnetic resonance neurography for cervical radiculopathy: a preliminary report

Neurosurgery. 1996 Mar;38(3):488-92 discussion 492. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199603000-00013.


Magnetic resonance neurography was used to directly image cervical spinal nerves in patients with clinical and radiographic evidence of cervical radiculopathy. A magnetic resonance imaging phased-array coil system was used to obtain high-resolution coronal T1-weighted spin echo, coronal/axial T2-weighted fast spin echo with fat saturation, and coronal/axial fast short tau inversion recovery weighted images of the cervical spine and spinal nerves. Three patients with neck and upper extremity pain and one asymptomatic volunteer were studied. The T2-weighted and the fast short tau inversion recovery images demonstrated markedly increased signal in the proximal portion of the affected spinal nerves. In two patients, contrast-to-noise measurements of the affected spinal nerves showed a markedly increased intensity compared with that of the noninvolved spinal nerves. Our findings demonstrate that phased-array coils used in conjunction with magnetic resonance neurography sequences can detect signal abnormalities within compressed cervical spinal nerves in patients with corresponding radicular symptoms and findings. This technique may prove to be helpful in evaluating patients with multilevel disc and/or spondylotic disease of the cervical spine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnosis*
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Reference Values
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / pathology*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / surgery