Noninvasive imaging of peripheral nerves.
Recent developments in the field of peripheral nerve imaging extend the capabilities of imaging modalities to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with peripheral nerve maladies. Methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and its derivative diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), ultrasound (US) and positron emission tomography (PET) are capable of assessing nerve structure and function following injury and relating the state of the nerve to electrophysiological and histological analysis. Of the imaging methods surveyed here, each offered unique and interesting advantages related to the field. MRI offered the opportunity to visualize immune activity on the injured nerve throughout the course of the regeneration process, and DTI offered numerical characterization of the injury and the ability to develop statistical bases for diagnosing injury. US extends imaging to the treatment phase by enabling more precise analgesic applications following surgery, and PET represents a novel method of assessing nerve injury through analysis of relative metabolism rates in injured and healthy tissue. Exciting new possibilities to enhance and extend the abilities of imaging methods are also discussed, including innovative contrast agents, some of which enable multimodal imaging approaches and present opportunities for treatment application.
Rangavajla, G; Mokarram, N; Masoodzadehgan, N; Pai, SB; Bellamkonda, RV
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