Background and Purpose: Traumatic peripheral nerve injury is common and results in loss of function and/or neuropathic pain. MR neurography is a well-established technique for evaluating peripheral nerve anatomy and pathology. However, the Gd-DTPA enhancement characteristics of acutely injured peripheral nerves have not been fully examined. This study was performed to determine whether acutely crushed rat sciatic nerves demonstrate Gd-DTPA enhancement and, if so, to evaluate whether enhancement is affected by crush severity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 26 rats, the sciatic nerve was crushed with either surgical forceps (6-to 20-N compressive force) or a microvascular/microaneurysm clip (0.1-0.6 N). Animals were longitudinally imaged at 4.7T for up to 30 days after injury. T1WI, T2WI, and T1WI with Gd-DTPA were performed. RESULTS: Forceps crush injury caused robust enhancement between days 3 and 21, while clip crush injury resulted in minimal-to-no enhancement. Enhancement after forceps injury peaked at 7 days and was seen a few millimeters proximal to, in the region of, and several centimeters distal to the site of crush injury. Enhancement after forceps injury was statistically significant compared with clip injury between days 3 and 7 (P < .04). CONCLUSIONS: Gd-DTPA enhancement of peripheral nerves may only occur above a certain crush-severity threshold. This phenomenon may explain the intermittent observation of Gd-DTPA enhancement of peripheral nerves after traumatic injury. The observation of enhancement may be useful in judging the severity of injury after nerve trauma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology