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Br J Radiol. 2012 Jun;85(1014):672-81. doi: 10.1259/bjr/84443179. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Review of the principal extra spinal pathologies causing sciatica and new MRI approaches.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Geneva University Hospital and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


In this paper we illustrate the principal extraspinal pathologies causing sciatica and new approaches for the study of structures such as the lumbosacral plexus (LSP). Visualisation of the LSP in its entirety is difficult with conventional two-dimensional MRI sequences owing to its oblique orientation. In our institution, we have found that the utilisation of three-dimensional short tau inversion-recovery sampling perfection with application-optimised contrasts using different flip angle evolutions sequence is helpful, allowing multiplanar and maximum intensity projection reconstructions in the coronal oblique plane and curvilinear reformats through the plexus. Diffusion tensor imaging enables the observation of microstructural changes and can be useful in surgical planning. The normal anatomy of the LSP, its different extraspinal pathologies and differential diagnoses are thoroughly presented.

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