OBJECTIVE. Preoperative evaluation of small vessels without contrast material is sometimes difficult in patients with neurovascular compression disease. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate whether 3D STIR MRI could simultaneously depict the lower cranial nerves - fifth through twelfth - and the blood vessels in the posterior fossa. MATERIALS AND METHODS. The posterior fossae of 47 adults (26 women, 21 men) without gross pathologic changes were imaged with 3D STIR and turbo spin-echo heavily T2-weighted MRI sequences and with contrast-enhanced turbo field-echo MR angiography (MRA). Visualization of the cranial nerves on STIR images was graded on a 4-point scale and compared with visualization on T2-weighted images. Visualization of the arteries on STIR images was evaluated according to the segments in each artery and compared with that on MRA images. Visualization of the veins on STIR images was also compared with that on MRA images. Statistical analysis was performed with the Mann-Whitney U test. RESULTS. There were no significant differences between STIR and T2-weighted images with respect to visualization of the cranial nerves (p > 0.05). Identified on STIR and MRA images were 94 superior cerebellar arteries, 81 anteroinferior cerebellar arteries, and 79 posteroinferior cerebellar arteries. All veins evaluated were seen on STIR and MRA images. There were no significant differences between STIR and MRA images with respect to visualization of arteries and veins (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION. High-resolution STIR is a feasible method for simultaneous evaluation of the lower cranial nerves and the vessels in the posterior fossa without the use of contrast material.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging