High-resolution MR neurography: Evaluation before repeat tarsal tunnel surgery

Avneesh Chhabra, Ty K. Subhawong, Eric H. Williams, Kenneth C. Wang, Shar Hashemi, Shrey K. Thawait, John A. Carrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively determine the accuracy of high-resolution MR neurography (MRN) in presurgical evaluation before repeat tarsal tunnel surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Ten MRN studies of nine patients (one man, eight women; mean age, 44.4 years; range, 23-67 years) who had been referred to a peripheral nerve specialist because of persistent symptoms after tarsal tunnel release were reviewed. The MRN findings studied included presence and location of focal fibrosis, presence or absence of nerve abnormality, location of nerve abnormality, and presence of neuroma formation and regional muscle denervation. The diagnostic accuracy of MRN in detection of posterior tibial nerve, medial plantar nerve, and lateral plantar nerve injury was calculated with clinical and intraoperative findings as the reference standards. RESULTS. Nine of 10 MRN studies (90%) had findings of nerve reentrapment related to focal fibrosis. Injured nerves were reliably visualized with MRN in all patients. MRN had a sensitivity of 77% for posterior tibial nerve, 100% for medial plantar nerve, and 100% for lateral plantar nerve injury, and the overall accuracy was 86%. The sensitivity of MRN was 91% for the presence of focal fibrosis affecting the three nerves and 67% for neuroma detection. Regional muscle denervation was better evaluated on MRN studies than at surgery. Smaller (1-3 mm) abnormal cutaneous nerve branches were better seen at surgery. CONCLUSION. MRN yields accurate morphologic information about the location and extent of nerve injury after failed tarsal tunnel release and facilitates preoperative diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Failed tarsal tunnel surgery
  • High resolution
  • MR neurography
  • Nerve injury
  • Repeat tarsal tunnel release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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