Fast spin-echo magnetic resonance imaging for radiological assessment of neonatal brachial plexus injury

P. C. Francel, M. Koby, T. S. Park, B. C.P. Lee, M. J. Noetzel, S. E. Mackinnon, M. M. Henegar, B. A. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Neurosurgical management of birth-related brachial plexus palsy involves observing the patient for a period of several months. Operative intervention is usually undertaken at 3 to 6 months of age or more in infants who have shown little or no improvement in affected muscle groups. Ancillary tests such as electromyography and nerve conduction studies are occasionally useful. No radiological study has been consistently helpful in operative planning, except for contrast computerized tomography (CT) myelography, which requires general anesthesia in infants. This is because the infant's small size exceeds the functional resolution of the imaging modalities. This report describes the use of a special sequence of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging entitled 'fast spin echo' (FSE-MR). Unlike CT myelography, this technique provides high-speed noninvasive imaging that allows clinicians to evaluate preganglionic nerve root injuries without the use of general anesthesia and lumbar puncture. The utility of this technique is illustrated in three cases, two involving either infraclavicular exploration or a combination of infraclavicular and supraclavicular exposure based on FSE-MR findings. The FSE-MR imaging offers an excellent alternative to contrast CT myelography in evuluation of infants with birth-related brachial plexus injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-466
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


  • birth injury
  • brachial plexus
  • infant
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • spinal nerve root avulsion


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