Traction injuries of the brachial plexus: signal intensity changes of the posterior cervical paraspinal muscles on MRI

J Comput Assist Tomogr. Sep-Oct 1997;21(5):790-5. doi: 10.1097/00004728-199709000-00026.


Purpose: Our goal was to evaluate MR signal intensity change of the posterior cervical paraspinal muscles in brachial plexus traction injuries to determine the value of this finding in the diagnosis of nerve root avulsion.

Method: MR images of 11 consecutive patients, 7 with nerve root avulsion and 4 without nerve root avulsion, were retrospectively analyzed, focusing on the signal intensity of the paraspinal muscles.

Results: Among the seven patients with nerve root avulsion, T2- or T2*-weighted MR images showed increased signal intensity in the deep posterior paraspinal muscles in five and traumatic meningocele in four. The signal intensity of the posterior paraspinal muscles was normal in all patients without nerve root injuries.

Conclusion: MR signal intensity change in the deep posterior cervical paraspinal muscles is related to denervation and suggests the presence of nerve root avulsion.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Meningocele / diagnosis
  • Meningocele / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscular Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Myelography
  • Neck / innervation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / injuries*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed