Recent advances in magnetic resonance neuroimaging of lumbar nerve to clinical applications: A review of clinical studies utilizing Diffusion Tensor Imaging and Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance neurography


Yawara Eguchi1), Hirohito Kanamoto2), Yasuhiro Oikawa3), Munetaka Suzuki1), Hajime Yamanaka1), Hiroshi Tamai1), Tatsuya Kobayashi1), Sumihisa Orita2), Kazuyo Yamauchi2), Miyako Suzuki2), Kazuhide Inage2), Yasuchika Aoki4), Atsuya Watanabe4), Takeo Furuya2), Masao Koda2), Kazuhisa Takahashi2), Seiji Ohtori2)

1) Department of Orthopedic Surgery, National Hospital Organization Shimoshizu National Hospital, Japan
2) Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan
3) Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Chiba Children's Hospital, Japan
4) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Eastern Chiba Medical Center, Japan


Much progress has been made in neuroimaging with Magnetic Resonance neurography and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) owing to higher magnetic fields and improvements in pulse sequence technology. Reports on lumbar nerve DTI have also increased considerably.
Many studies have shown that the use of DTI in lumbar nerve lesions, such as lumbar foraminal stenosis and lumbar disc herniation, makes it possible to capture images of interruptions of tractography at stenotic sties, enabling the diagnosis of stenosis. DTI can also reveal significant decreases in fractional anisotropy (FA) with significant increases in apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in compression lesions.
FA values have higher accuracy than ADC values. Furthermore, strong correlations exist between FA values and indications of neurological severity, including the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) in patients with lumbar disc herniation-induced radiculopathy.
Most lumbar DTI has become 3T; 3T MRI has made it possible to take high-resolution DTI measurements in a short period of time. However, increased motion artifacts in the magnetic susceptibility effect lead to signal irregularities and image distortion. In the future, high-resolution DTI with reduced field-of-view may become useful in clinical applications, since visualization of nerve lesions and quantification of DTI parameters could allow more accurate diagnoses of lumbar nerve dysfunctions. Future translational studies will be necessary to successfully bring MR neuroimaging of lumbar nerve into clinical use.

Released: April 27, 2017; doi: