MR imaging findings of anterior interosseous nerve lesions
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To study and characterise the MR imaging findings of lesions of the anterior interosseous nerve (AIN).
Materials and methods
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of the forearm of ten patients referred to our institution with suspected AIN lesions were retrospectively studied. Five healthy volunteers with normal forearm MRI findings formed a control group. Two musculoskeletal radiologists assessed the forearm musculature for oedema in the distribution of the AIN, median, posterior interosseous and radial nerves on T2-weighted (T2W) fat-saturated sequences. T1-weighted (T1W) images were assessed and graded for the presence of muscle atrophy and fatty involution.
Six patients had undergone surgical exploration; five of these had surgically confirmed AIN compression. Four patients had diagnoses other than AIN compression made on imaging features. Of the cases of proven AIN compression, oedema within the pronator quadratus (PQ) muscle was identified in all cases. PQ atrophy and fatty involution were seen in three (43%) surgically confirmed cases. Cases 2 and 3 also demonstrated oedema in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP)1 and FDP2 muscles. These cases also showed oedema in the flexor-carpi radialis (FCR) and FDP3/FDP4 muscles, respectively. The four cases of non-AIN compression demonstrated muscle oedema patterns that were atypical for the AIN distribution. They included a rupture of the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon, brachial neuritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and compression of the proximal median nerve.
MRI is a useful investigation in the diagnostic workup of AIN syndrome. AIN syndrome is likely when there is diffuse oedema of AIN innervated muscles on T2W fat-saturated images. The most reliable sign of an AIN lesion is oedema within the PQ. Oedema in the flexor carpi radialis, FDP3 and FDP4, although not in the classical distribution of the AIN, does not preclude the diagnosis of AIN syndrome.
KeywordsMagnetic resonance imaging Anterior interosseous nerve Lesions
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