Diagnostic Accuracy of Magnetic Resonance Imaging With 3-Dimensional T2-SPACE Techniques for Preganglionic Injury of the Brachial Plexus

Published:August 27, 2022DOI:


      An accurate diagnosis of the site and severity of a brachial plexus injury is imperative for selecting the appropriate management. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not allow for the precise interpretation of preganglionic injuries (pre-GIs), especially intravertebral canal injuries. We developed 4 MRI sequences of conventional 1.5-tesla 3-dimensional T2-weighted turbo spin echo sampling perfection with the application of optimized contrasts using different flip angles evolution (T2-SPACE) images to clearly visualize each component of the brachial plexus. The purpose of this study was to introduce basic normal and pathologic findings of our current MRI approach, focusing on its diagnostic accuracy for pre-GIs.


      We initially examined 119 patients with brachial plexus injuries who underwent surgical exploration by MRI using 4 sequences of the 1.5-tesla 3-dimensional T2-SPACE technique. We obtained coronal, transverse, coronal oblique, and coronal cuts of T2 short time inversion recovery. The images of 595 roots were interpreted by multiple-image synchronizing techniques of the 4 views to precisely interpret the presence of spinal cord edema, numbers of anterior and posterior rootlets, sites of ganglions, meningeal cysts, and the “black line sign” (displaced ruptured dura or bundles of ruptured rootlets). We assessed the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of these abnormal findings with regard to diagnosing pre-GIs by comparing surgical exploration.


      The absence or decreased numbers of anterior and posterior rootlets and displacement of ganglions were definitive evidence of pre-GIs and the other findings, like spinal cord edema, meningeal cysts, and black line signs, were predictive signs.


      The synchronizing techniques of the four 1.5-tesla 3-dimensional T2-SPACE images provided high diagnostic accuracy of pre-GIs.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Diagnostic II.

      Key words

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