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J L Demer, J M Miller; Magnetic resonance imaging of the functional anatomy of the superior oblique muscle.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(5):906-913.
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PURPOSE: To study the size and contractile changes of the normal superior oblique (SO) muscle using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to evaluate the abnormalities in these characteristics produced by SO palsy. METHODS: Multiple coronal MRI image planes were obtained using a surface coil to span the antero-posterior extent of each orbit and were repeated in multiple directions of gaze. Digital image analysis was used to measure muscle cross-sectional area for evaluation of size and contractility. RESULTS: Data for 16 orbits of 11 subjects without SO palsies established norms for morphology and contractility. On SO contraction in down gaze, maximum cross sectional area was significantly (P < 0.001) greater than on relaxation in up gaze, and the point of maximum cross-section shifted posteriorly with contraction. In seven subjects with clinically unilateral chronic SO palsies, the affected muscle was significantly smaller than normal (P < 0.001) and lacked contractile changes; clinically normal fellow SO muscles exhibited normal cross-sections and contractile changes. CONCLUSION: High-resolution MRI, coupled with quantitative morphometric analysis, can demonstrate the size and contractility of the normal SO muscle. The technique, which can be employed using widely available clinical equipment, is also sensitive enough to detect anatomic and functional changes expected in chronic SO palsies.
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