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The Diagnostic Accuracy Of 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging For Detecting Root Avulsions In Traumatic Adult Brachial Plexus Injuries

Ryckie G. Wade, Vinay Itte, James J. Rankine, John P. Ridgway, Grainne Bourke

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Identification of root avulsions is of critical importance in traumatic brachial plexus injuries because it alters the reconstruction and prognosis. Pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging is gaining popularity, but there is limited and conflicting data on its diagnostic accuracy for root avulsion. This cohort study describes consecutive patients requiring brachial plexus exploration following trauma between 2008 and 2016. The index test was magnetic resonance imaging at 1.5 Tesla and the reference test was operative exploration of the supraclavicular plexus. Complete data from 29 males was available. The diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging for root avulsion(s) of C5-T1 was 79%. The diagnostic accuracy of a pseudomeningocoele as a surrogate marker of root avulsion(s) of C5-T1 was 68%. We conclude that pseudomeningocoles were not a reliable sign of root avulsion and magnetic resonance imaging has modest diagnostic accuracy for root avulsions in the context of adult traumatic brachial plexus injuries. Level of evidence: III