The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that extends from the shoulder up to the neck and is responsible for many bodily functions. The brachial plexus is responsible for sensory and motor innervation of the upper extremities. The causes of brachial plexopathy should be examined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is the most efficient imaging method.
Plexopathy is a medical term that refers to nerve, blood vessel, or lymph vessel malfunction. Both the brachial and lumbar plexuses are affected by this condition. These include pain, a loss of motor function, and sensory deficits, to name a few symptoms.
Because it doesn’t involve ionizing radiation, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a renowned medical test. Apart from that, an MRI scan is completely painless and has no known side effects.
When would you get a Brachial Plexus MRI?
Your medical practitioner may suggest an MRI of the brachial plexus evaluate the following:
- The area of the brachial plexus has been traumatized or injured
- Upper extremity discomfort
- Weakness in the upper extremities
- Muscular wasting (a term used to describe the decrease of muscle mass)
How to identify Brachial Plexus
The anterior scalene muscle may be seen on an MRI before moving on to the brachial plexus. As previously mentioned, the brachial plexus and subclavian artery are located deep inside the anterior scalene. Axial pictures are ideal for seeing the roots, whereas coronal and sagittal imaging is better for seeing the rest of the structure.
Images acquired with any of the sequences show intermediate-to-low signal strength in the normal components of the brachial plexus, which are surrounded by fat. As opposed to this, atypical nerves may show localized or widespread enlargement, deviancy, or discontinuity in the T2-weighted signal, and/or effacement of the perineural fat planes on imaging studies. An infiltrative tumor or infection may be seen as a segmental or confluent elevation of the brachial plexus after contrast imaging.
What to Expect during MRI?
MRI scans are completely pain-free. Some patients indeed have a hard time remaining motionless. While in a traditional closed MRI scanner, some patients may experience claustrophobia or become frightened. The scanner tends to make a lot of noise. Patients who are nervous or worried may be given a sedative to help them relax. Alternatively, the doctor may prescribe for the patient before the examination to provide a light sedative. The patient will be required to be brought to and from the facility on both occasions if a light sedative is given during the procedure. They will be released from the hospital after the examination is finished.
It’s normal to feel warm in the area being examined. Keep still while the photos are taken. This may take seconds or minutes. Listen for tapping or pounding sounds emanating from the coils that generate radiofrequency pulses. Relaxation between images is allowed, but you must maintain your stance. After the MRI, you will be the only one in the exam room. A two-way intercom allows the technician to see, hear, and speak with you at all times.
Indications for Brachial Plexus
Brachial plexus MRI may be ordered for a variety of reasons, including symptoms, discomfort, neurological deficit, or muscle atrophy related to brachial plexus pathology, post-radiation therapy assessment, or preoperative examination of the known intrinsic or extrinsic neck, clavicular region, or axilla lesions.