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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Characteristics of Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors of the Canine Brachial Plexus in 18 Dogs

Susan Kraft E.J.E., David Gall, Lisa Klopp, Patrick Gavin, Russ Tucker, Rod Bagley, Hege Kippenes, Constance Dehaan, Vince Pedroia, Beth Partington, Natasha Olby,

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2007. 48(1): p.1-7.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations from 18 dogs with a histologically confirmed peripheral nerve sheath tumor (PNST) of the brachial plexus were assessed retrospectively. Almost half (8/18) had a diffuse thickening of the brachial plexus nerve(s), six of which extended into the vertebral canal. The other 10/18 dogs had a nodule or mass in the axilla (1.22013338†cm3). Seven of those 10 masses also had diffuse nerve sheath thickening, three of which extended into the vertebral canal. The majority of tumors were hyperintense to muscle on T2-weighted images and isointense on T1-weighted images. Eight of 18 PNSTs had only minimal to mild contrast enhancement and many (13/18) enhanced heterogeneously following gadolinium DTPA administration. Transverse plane images with a large enough field of view (FOV) to include both axillae and the vertebral canal were essential, allowing in-slice comparison to detect lesions by asymmetry of structures. Higher resolution, smaller FOV, multiplanar examination of the cervicothoracic spine was important for appreciating nerve root and foraminal involvement. Short tau inversion recovery, T2-weighted, pre and postcontrast T1-weighted pulse sequences were all useful. Contrast enhancement was critical to detecting subtle diffuse nerve sheath involvement or small isointense nodules, and for accurately identifying the full extent of disease. Some canine brachial plexus tumors can be challenging to detect, requiring a rigorous multiplanar multi-pulse sequence MRI examination.