Piriformis muscle syndrome (PMS) is difficult to diagnose by objective evaluation of sciatic nerve injury. Here we report a case of PMS diagnosed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tractography of the sciatic nerve, which can assess and visualize the extent of nerve injury. The patient was a 53-year-old man with a 2-year history of continuous pain and numbness in the left leg. His symptoms worsened when sitting. Physical examination, including sensorimotor neurologic tests, the deep tendon reflex test, and the straight leg raise test, revealed no specific findings. The hip flexion adduction and internal rotation test and resisted contraction maneuvers for the piriformis muscle were positive. There were no abnormal findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine. The transverse diameter of piriformis muscle was slightly thicker in affected side on MRI of the pelvis. A single DTI sequence was performed during MRI of the pelvis. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of the sciatic nerve were quantified at three levels using the fiber-tracking method. FA values were significantly lower and ADC values were significantly higher distal to the piriformis muscle. We performed endoscopic-assisted resection of the piriformis tendon. Intraoperatively, the motor-evoked potentials in the left gastrocnemius were improved by resection of the piriformis tendon. The patient’s symptoms improved immediately after surgery. There was no significant difference in FA or ADC at any level between the affected side and the unaffected side 3 months postoperatively. MRI-DTI may aid the diagnosis of PMS.
Skeletal Radiology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 14, 2017
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