Whole-Body MRI for Evaluation of the Entire Muscular System

  • Nicolai Schramm
  • Sabine Weckbach
  • Stephen Eustace
  • Niamh M. Long
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Due to several technological advances, whole-body MRI (WB-MRI) is currently feasible with reasonable examination times and very good image quality. WB MRI protocols must be customized to the clinical questions they should solve. The most important MR sequences when evaluating skeletal muscle disease are as follows: T1-weighted (T1w) sequences are appropriate to depict anatomy, assess muscle atrophy, and detect fatty infiltration of muscles. Short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequences or T2-weighted fat-saturated sequences can sensitively detect muscle edema. In this chapter, a comprehensive neuromuscular WB MRI protocol consisting of coronal T1w and STIR sequences at five body levels and additional axial T1w sequences is presented, modifications of this protocol are also discussed. In comparison to dedicated muscle MRI, WB MRI might be more useful for determination of the extent of the disease, detection of subclinical involvement, differential diagnosis, muscle biopsy planning, noninvasive follow-up examinations, and therapy monitoring. Currently, the most common application of neuromuscular WB MRI is the evaluation of inflammatory myopathies; muscle edema can be detected very sensitively. Another promising field for neuromuscular WB MRI are degenerative myopathies.


Fatty Infiltration Inclusion Body Myositis Inflammatory Myopathy Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Muscle Dystrophy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolai Schramm
    • 1
  • Sabine Weckbach
    • 2
  • Stephen Eustace
    • 3
  • Niamh M. Long
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute for Clinical RadiologyLudwig-Maximilians-University Hospital MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.FFSEM, Newman Professor of RadiologyUniversity College Dublin, Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist, Departments of Radiology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and Cappagh National, Orthopaedic HospitalDublinIreland
  4. 4.Department of RadiologySpecialist Registrar in Diagnostic Radiology, Cappagh National Orthopaedic HospitalDublinIreland

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