Choosing Wisely:

Don’t do an MRI scan of the spine or brain for patients with only peripheral neuropathy (without signs or symptoms suggesting a brain or spine disorder).

Rationale and Comments: Because the vast majority of people with peripheral neuropathy (also called polyneuropathy) have the longest nerves of the body primarily affected (mostly in the toes and feet, but sometimes also in the hands), there is essentially no justification for MRI of the brain or spine in these cases.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine
  • Sources:
  • American Academy of Neurology guidelines
  • Disciplines:
  • Neurologic
  • References: • England, JD Gronseth GS, Franklin G, Carter GT, Kinsella LJ, Cohen JA, Asbury AK, Szigeti K, Lupski JR, Latov N, Lewis RA, Low PA, Fisher MA, Herrmann DN, Howard JF Jr, Lauria G, Miller RG, Polydefkis M, Sumner AJ; American Academy of Neurology. Practice Parameter: evaluation of distal symmetric polyneuropathy: role of laboratory and genetic testing (an evidence-based review). Report of the American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Neurology. 2009;72(2):185-92.

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