Image_1_Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Diagnosing Root Avulsions in Traumatic Adult Brachial Plexus Injuries: A Proof-of-Concept Study.JPEG (76.24 kB)
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Image_1_Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Diagnosing Root Avulsions in Traumatic Adult Brachial Plexus Injuries: A Proof-of-Concept Study.JPEG

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posted on 16.04.2020, 04:27 authored by Ryckie G. Wade, Steven F. Tanner, Irvin Teh, John P. Ridgway, David Shelley, Brian Chaka, James J. Rankine, Gustav Andersson, Mikael Wiberg, Grainne Bourke

Cross-sectional MRI has modest diagnostic accuracy for diagnosing traumatic brachial plexus root avulsions. Consequently, patients either undergo major exploratory surgery or months of surveillance to determine if and what nerve reconstruction is needed. This study aimed to develop a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocol at 3 Tesla to visualize normal roots and identify traumatic root avulsions of the brachial plexus. Seven healthy adults and 12 adults with known (operatively explored) unilateral traumatic brachial plexus root avulsions were scanned. DTI was acquired using a single-shot echo-planar imaging sequence at 3 Tesla. The brachial plexus was visualized by deterministic tractography. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were calculated for injured and avulsed roots in the lateral recesses of the vertebral foramen. Compared to healthy nerves roots, the FA of avulsed nerve roots was lower (mean difference 0.1 [95% CI 0.07, 0.13]; p < 0.001) and the MD was greater (mean difference 0.32 × 10−3 mm2/s [95% CI 0.11, 0.53]; p < 0.001). Deterministic tractography reconstructed both normal roots and root avulsions of the brachial plexus; the negative-predictive value for at least one root avulsion was 100% (95% CI 78, 100). Therefore, DTI might help visualize both normal and injured roots of the brachial plexus aided by tractography. The precision of this technique and how it relates to neural microstructure will be further investigated in a prospective diagnostic accuracy study of patients with acute brachial plexus injuries.

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