Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 653–676 | Cite as

Whole-body MRI and pathological findings in adult patients with myopathies

  • Xavier TomasEmail author
  • Jose Cesar Milisenda
  • Ana Isabel Garcia-Diez
  • Sergio Prieto-Gonzalez
  • Marie Faruch
  • Jaime Pomes
  • Josep Maria Grau-Junyent
Review Article


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered the most sensitive and specific imaging technique for the detection of muscle diseases related to myopathies. Since 2008, the use of whole-body MRI (WBMRI) to evaluate myopathies has improved due to technical advances such as rolling table platform and parallel imaging, which enable rapid assessment of the entire musculoskeletal system with high-quality images. WBMRI protocols should include T1-weighted and short-tau inversion recovery (STIR), which provide the basic pulse sequences for studying myopathies, in order to detect fatty infiltration/muscle atrophy and muscle edema, respectively. High signal intensity in T1-weighted images shows chronic disease with fatty infiltration, whereas high signal intensity in STIR indicates an acute stage with muscle edema. Additional sequences such as diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can be readily incorporated into routine WBMRI study protocols. Contrast-enhanced sequences have not been done. This article reviews WBMRI as an imaging method to evaluate different myopathies (idiopathic inflammatory, dystrophic, non-dystrophic, metabolic, and channelopathies). WBMRI provides a comprehensive estimate of the total burden with a single study, seeking specific distribution patterns, including clinically silent involvement of muscle areas. Furthermore, WBMRI may help to select the “target muscle area” for biopsy during patient follow-up. It may be also be used to detect related and non-related pathological conditions, such as tumors.


Biopsy Muscle Myopathies Myositis Whole-body MRI Dystrophic myopathies Congenital myopathies Metabolic myopathies Channelopathies 



We thank our MRI technicians Santiago Sotes and Irene Millan, and Donna Pringle and Jennifer Brickman for reviewing and improving the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All the procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Tomas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jose Cesar Milisenda
    • 2
  • Ana Isabel Garcia-Diez
    • 1
  • Sergio Prieto-Gonzalez
    • 3
  • Marie Faruch
    • 4
  • Jaime Pomes
    • 1
  • Josep Maria Grau-Junyent
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Radiology (CDIC), Hospital ClinicUniversitat de Barcelona (UB)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital ClinicUniversitat de Barcelona (UB) and CIBERERBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Autoimmune Diseases, Hospital ClinicBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Hopital PurpanCentre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU)Toulouse cedex 9France

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