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Richard B. Boyer, Nathaniel D. Kelm, D. Colton Riley, Kevin W. Sexton, Alonda C. Pollins, R. Bruce Shack, Richard D. Dortch, Lillian B. Nanney, Mark D. Does and Wesley P. Thayer

Diagnosis and management of peripheral nerve injury is complicated by the inability to assess microstructural features of injured nerve fibers via clinical examination and electrophysiology. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been shown to accurately detect nerve injury and regeneration in crush models of peripheral nerve injury, but no prior studies have been conducted on nerve transection, a surgical emergency that can lead to permanent weakness or paralysis. Acute sciatic nerve injuries were performed microsurgically to produce multiple grades of nerve transection in rats that were harvested 1 hour after surgery. High-resolution diffusion tensor images from ex vivo sciatic nerves were obtained using diffusion-weighted spin-echo acquisitions at 4.7 T. Fractional anisotropy was significantly reduced at the injury sites of transected rats compared with sham rats. Additionally, minor eigenvalues and radial diffusivity were profoundly elevated at all injury sites and were negatively correlated to the degree of injury. Diffusion tensor tractography showed discontinuities at all injury sites and significantly reduced continuous tract counts. These findings demonstrate that high-resolution DTI is a promising tool for acute diagnosis and grading of traumatic peripheral nerve injuries.

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Timothy R. Miller, Sijia Guo, Elias R. Melhem, Howard M. Eisenberg, Jiachen Zhuo, Nathaniel Kelm, Mor Dayan, Rao P. Gullapalli and Dheeraj Gandhi


Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) ablation of the globus pallidus interna (GPi) is being investigated for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease symptoms. However, GPi lesioning presents unique challenges due to the off-midline location of the target. Furthermore, it remains uncertain whether intraprocedural MR thermometry data can predict final lesion characteristics.


The authors first performed temperature simulations of GPi pallidotomy and compared the results with those of actual cases and the results of ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) thalamotomy performed for essential tremor treatment. Next, thermometry data from 13 MRgFUS pallidotomy procedures performed at their institution were analyzed using 46°C, 48°C, 50°C, and 52°C temperature thresholds. The resulting thermal models were compared with resulting GPi lesions noted on postprocedure days 1 and 30. Finally, the treatment efficiency (energy per temperature rise) of pallidotomy was evaluated.


The authors’ modeled acoustic intensity maps correctly demonstrate the elongated, ellipsoid lesions noted during GPi pallidotomy. In treated patients, the 48°C temperature threshold maps most accurately predicted postprocedure day 1 lesion size, while no correlation was found for day 30 lesions. The average energy/temperature rise of pallidotomy was higher (612 J/°C) than what had been noted for VIM thalamotomy and varied with the patients’ skull density ratios (SDRs).


The authors’ acoustic simulations accurately depicted the characteristics of thermal lesions encountered following MRgFUS pallidotomy. MR thermometry data can predict postprocedure day 1 GPi lesion characteristics using a 48°C threshold model. Finally, the lower treatment efficiency of pallidotomy may make GPi lesioning challenging in patients with a low SDR.