n SA Journal of Radiology - Interpretation and value of MR CSF flow studies for paediatric neurosurgery : review




Imaging techniques may be underutilised when clinicians are unaware of the technique or do not recognise its potential. Phase-contrast MR imaging (PC-MRI) is a rapid, simple and non-invasive technique that is sensitive to CSF flow. It demonstrates a mechanical coupling between cerebral blood and CSF flow throughout the cardiac cycle. Neurosurgeons should be able to request this procedure routinely as part of an MRI request. This paper gives an overview of the indications, technical requirements, technique and interpretation, using image examples. Indications for CSF flow studies in children include assessment and functionality of shunt treatment in patients with hydrocephalus; hydrocephalus associated with achondroplasia; Chiari I malformation; confirmation of aqueductal stenosis; and determining patency of a third ventriculostomy.


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