Sievert C, Richter H, Gascho D, et al.
Understanding the normal course and optimizing visualization of the canine peripheral nerves of the lumbar plexus, in particular the sciatic and the femoral nerves, is essential when interpreting images of patients with suspected peripheral neuropathies such as inflammatory or neoplastic conditions. The purpose of this prospective, anatomic study was to describe the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) anatomy of the normal canine femoral and sciatic nerves and to define the sequences in which the nerves are best depicted. A preliminary postmortem cadaver study was performed to determine optimal sequences and imaging protocol. In a second step the optimized technique was implemented on 10 healthy Beagle dogs, included in the study. The applied protocol included the following sequences: T1-weighted, T2-weighted, T2-Spectral Attenuated Inversion Recovery, T1-weighted postcontrast and T1-Spectral Presaturated Inversion Recovery postcontrast. All sequences had satisfactory signal-to-noise ratio and contrast resolution in all patients. The sciatic and femoral nerves were seen in all images. They were symmetric and of homogeneous signal intensity, being iso- to mildly hyperintense to muscle on T2-weighted, mildly hyperintense in T2-Spectral Attenuated Inversion Recovery, and iso- to mildly hypointense in T1-weighted images. No evidence of contrast enhancement in T1-weighted and T1-Spectral Presaturated Inversion Recovery postcontrast sequences was observed. The anatomic landmarks helpful to identify the course of the femoral and sciatic nerves are described in detail. This study may be used as an anatomical reference, depicting the normal canine femoral and sciatic nerves at 3 Tesla MRI.