- Damon BM, Li K, Bryant ND. Magnetic resonance imaging of skeletal muscle disease. Handbook of clinical neurology. 136. 827-42. PMID: 27430444 [PubMed].
Neuromuscular diseases often exhibit a temporally varying, spatially heterogeneous, and multifaceted pathology. The goals of this chapter are to describe and evaluate the use of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to characterize muscle pathology. The following criteria are used for this evaluation: objective measurement of continuously distributed variables; clear and well-understood relationship to the pathology of interest; sensitivity to improvement or worsening of clinical status; and the measurement properties of accuracy and precision. Two major classes of MRI methods meet all of these criteria: (1) MRI methods for measuring muscle contractile volume or cross-sectional area by combining structural MRI and quantitative fat-water MRI; and (2) an MRI method for characterizing the edema caused by inflammation, the measurement of the transverse relaxation time constant (T2). These methods are evaluated with respect to the four criteria listed above and examples from neuromuscular disorders are provided. Finally, these methods are summarized and synthesized and recommendations for additional quantitative MRI developments are made.