Magnetic resonance imaging of facial muscles.
Farrugia ME., Bydder GM., Francis JM., Robson MD.
Facial and tongue muscles are commonly involved in patients with neuromuscular disorders. However, these muscles are not as easily accessible for biopsy and pathological examination as limb muscles. We have previously investigated myasthenia gravis patients with MuSK antibodies for facial and tongue muscle atrophy using different magnetic resonance imaging sequences, including ultrashort echo time techniques and image analysis tools that allowed us to obtain quantitative assessments of facial muscles. This imaging study had shown that facial muscle measurement is possible and that useful information can be obtained using a quantitative approach. In this paper we aim to review in detail the methods that we applied to our study, to enable clinicians to study these muscles within the domain of neuromuscular disease, oncological or head and neck specialties. Quantitative assessment of the facial musculature may be of value in improving the understanding of pathological processes occurring within facial muscles in certain neuromuscular disorders.