The Prevalence of Vascular Impingement of the Trigeminal, Facial, and Vestibulocochlear Nerves in Healthy Volunteers
Department of Radiology, The University Hospital, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Aim: To determine the prevalence of vascular impingement of the trigeminal,
facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves in a healthy population.
Subjects and Methods: The trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves of 90 asymptomatic volunteers were assessed for the presence or absence of vessels abutting or displacing these nerves. The studies were performed on a 1.0-T magnet using a circular polarised head coil. Axial T2-weighted images, 3-dimensional constructive interference in steady state (TR/TE=12.3/5.9), through the brainstem were obtained at 0.7 mm intervals with a matrix of 192 x 512 and a 25 x 16 field of view.
Results: Forty two of 540 nerves (8%) showed evidence of impingement, 108 of 540 nerves (20%) showed evidence of abutment, and 390 of 540 nerves (72%) were normal. Among the 42 impinged nerves, 38 (90.5%) were facial/vestibulocochlear complex; 4 (9.5%) were trigeminal, and 1 (2.0%) had all 3 nerves impinged. No bilateral impingements were detected. Of the 108 volunteers with vascular abutment of the nerves, 101 nerves (93.5%) were facial/vestibulocochlear complex; 7 (6.5%) were trigeminal, and 3 (2.7%) had abutment of all 3 vessels.
Conclusion: Vascular impingement of the trigeminal, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves is frequently seen in the healthy population. (J HK Coll Radiol 2003;6:20-24)
Key Words: Cranial nerve diseases, Magnetic resonance imaging
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