High-resolution MRI demonstrates detailed anatomy of the axillary brachial plexus. A pilot study

Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 05/11/2012

Kjelstrup T et al. – Clinical high–field 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner gives good visualization of brachial plexus in the axilla. The superior ability to detect local anaesthetics after it has been injected and the multiplanar imaging capability make MRI a useful tool in studies of the brachial plexus.


  • Nine volunteers and nine patients were examined in a 3.0 Tesla MR.
  • The patients had two different brachial plexus blocks.
  • Subsequently, they were scanned by MRI and finally tested clinically for block efficacy before operation.
  • Axial images, with and without local anaesthetics injected, were viewed in a sequence loop to identify the anatomy.


  • With the high-resolution MRI, the authors obtained images of good quality, and cords and all terminal nerves could be identified.
  • When local anaesthetics are injected, neurovascular structures are displaced, and the vein is compressed.
  • Viewing the images in a sequence loop facilitates identification of the different nerves and has high instructive value (links S1–3 to these loops are enclosed).

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