, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 567-577
Date: 27 Nov 2012

Neuromuscular choristoma: characteristic magnetic resonance imaging findings and association with post-biopsy fibromatosis

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To describe imaging characteristics of neuromuscular choristomas (NMC) and to differentiate them from fibrolipomatous hamartomas (FLH).

Materials and methods

Clinical and imaging characteristics of six patients with biopsy-proven NMC and six patients with FLH were reviewed by musculoskeletal, a pediatric, and two in-training radiologists with a literature review to define typical magnetic resonance imaging features by consensus. Five radiology trainees blinded to cases and naive to the diagnosis of NMC and a musculoskeletal-trained radiologist rated each lesion as having more than or less than 50 % intralesional fat, as well as an overall impression using axial T1 images. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and interobserver agreement kappa were determined.


Typical features of NMC include smoothly tapering, fusiform enlargement of the sciatic nerve or brachial plexus elements with T1 and T2 signal characteristics closely following those of muscle. Longitudinal bands of intervening low T1 and T2 signal were often present and likely corresponded to fibrous tissue by pathology. Four of five patients with long-term follow-up (80 %) developed aggressive fibromatosis after percutaneous or surgical biopsy. Nerve fascicle thickening often resulted in a “coaxial cable” appearance similar to classic FLH, however, using a cutoff of <50 % intralesional fat allowed for differentiation with 100 % sensitivity by all reviewers and 100 % specificity when all imaging features were utilized for impressions. Agreement was excellent with all differentiating methods (kappa 0.861–1.0).


NMC can be confidently differentiated from FLH and malignancies using characteristic imaging and clinical features. When a diagnosis is made, biopsy should be avoided given frequent complication by aggressive fibromatosis.