Surface landmarks of brachial plexus: ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging for supraclavicular approach with anatomical correlation.
ABSTRACT The present study is able to describe a certain line, under which brachial plexus (BP) lies underneath in the supraclavicular region. A line drawn between midpoint of the sternocleidomastoid muscle to the midpoint of the clavicle was considered for BP. Surface landmarks were evaluated by applying ultrasound (US) on 30 volunteers (15 female, 15 male). Axial and sagittal views of BP were taken and distances between skin and BP were measured. Coronal magnetic resonance (MR) sections were taken from 7 volunteers according to the second line after applying two fat capsules on each line. The sonographic views were seen at the same line. Mean distances from skin were found as 16.5+/-0.7 mm for male and 14.5+/-0.5 mm for female volunteers. MR images were obtained bilaterally, which were parallel and posterior from sonographic lines. Surface landmarks, as presented in this study, are simple to accomplish and are not dependent on structural variations as external jugular vein.
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ABSTRACT: Ultrasound (US) and MR imaging have been shown able to detect in-depth features of brachial plexus anatomy and to localize pathological lesions in disorders where electrophysiology and physical findings are nonspecific or nonlocalizing. High-end gradient technology, phased array coils, and selection of an appropriate protocol of pulse sequences are the main requirements to evaluate the brachial plexus nerves with MR imaging and to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic pathological changes. A careful scanning technique based on anatomical landmarks is required to image the brachial plexus nerves with US. In traumatic injuries, MR imaging and myelographic techniques can exclude nerve lesions at the level of neural foramina and at intradural location. Outside the spinal canal, US is an excellent alternative to MR imaging to determine the presence of a lesion, to establish the site and the level of nerve involvement, as well as to confirm or exclude major nerve injuries. In addition to brachial plexus injuries, MR imaging and US can be contributory in a variety of nontraumatic brachial plexopathies of a compressive, neoplastic, and inflammatory nature. In the thoracic outlet syndrome, imaging performed in association with postural maneuvers can help diagnose dynamic compressions. MR imaging and US are also effective to recognize neuropathies about the shoulder girdle involving the suprascapular, axillary, long thoracic, and spinal accessory nerves that may mimic brachial plexopathy. In this article, the clinical entities just listed are discussed independently, providing an overview of the current status of knowledge regarding imaging assessment.Seminars in Musculoskeletal Radiology 11/2010; 14(5):523-46. · 1.40 Impact Factor