Objective: Imaging the brachial plexus is a challenge because of its complicated structure. The purpose of this study is to improve the diagnostic ability for brachial plexus via 3-dimensional T2-weighted short inversion time inversion recovery (3D-T2-STIR) technique with contrast agent administration.
Methods: Thirty patients with brachial plexopathies were recruited. The STIR sequences without and with contrast agent administration were performed on each subject. The grade of the diagnostic ability and the contrast ratio were assessed.
Results: After contrast agent administration, signals of the adjacent vessels were suppressed because of reduced T1 relaxation time similar to that of fat tissues. The outlines of nerves would be prominent with respect to surrounding tissues. Both diagnostic ability and contrast ratio were improved on 3D-T2-STIR with contrast agent administration.
Conclusions: The maximum-intensity projection image of 3D-T2-STIR technique with contrast agent was superior to that without. It might be a better way to evaluate anatomies and pathologies of the brachial plexus. These advantages would improve the understanding and neurosurgical planning for brachial plexopathies in the future.