Magnetic Resonance Neurography of Traumatic and Nontraumatic Peripheral Trigeminal Neuropathies

John R Zuniga, Cyrus Mistry, Igor Tikhonov, Riham Dessouky, Avneesh Chhabra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: The clinical neurosensory testing (NST) is currently the reference standard for the diagnosis of traumatic and nontraumatic peripheral trigeminal neuropathies (PTNs), but exhibits both false-positive and false-negative results compared with surgical findings and frequently results in treatment decision delays. We tested the hypothesis that magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) of PTNs can serve as a diagnostic modality by correlating the NST, MRN, and surgical findings. Materials and Methods: Sixty patients with traumatic and nontraumatic PTN of varying etiologies and Sunderland classifications underwent NST, followed by MRN using 1.5T and 3.0T scanners. The protocol included 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional (3D) imaging, including diffusion imaging and isotropic 3D PSIF. The MRN findings were read by 2 readers in consensus with the clinical findings but without knowing the side of abnormality. The MRN results were summarized using the Sunderland classification. In 26 patients, surgery was performed, and the Sunderland classification was assigned using the surgical photographs. Agreement between the MRN findings and NST/surgical classification was evaluated using kappa statistics. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to assess the correlation between continuous measurements of MRN/NST and surgical classification. Results: Of the 60 patients, 19 males and 41 females, mean age 41 years (range 12 to 75), with 54 complaints of altered sensation of the lip, chin, or tongue, including 16 with neuropathic pain and 4 with no neurosensory complaint, were included. Third molar surgery (n = 29) represented the most common cause of traumatic PTN. Assuming 1 nerve abnormality per patient, the lower class was accepted, a kappa of 0.57 was observed between the MRN and NST classification. A kappa of 0.5 was found between MRN and surgical findings with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.67. Conclusions: MRN anatomically maps PTNs and stratifies the nerve injury and neuropathies with moderate to good agreement with NST and surgical findings for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-736
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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