Neurofibromatosis type 1: magnetic resonance imaging findings.
The purpose of this study was to determine the locations and characterize the types of brain abnormalities noted on brain magnetic resonance imaging in patients with probable and definite neurofibromatosis type 1. Patients with definite neurofibromatosis type 1 (n = 17) were studied when clinically indicated, and patients with probable neurofibromatosis type 1 (n = 9) were studied to evaluate for asymptomatic optic pathway glioma. Of the 26 patients evaluated, 14 (53%) had high-intensity signal abnormalities and 11 (42%) had significant structural abnormalities. Subsequent clinical follow-up has confirmed conversion to a definite neurofibromatosis type 1 diagnosis in three of the four cases of probable neurofibromatosis type 1 who had high-intensity signal abnormalities. The most common locations of high-intensity signal lesions were in the globus pallidus of the basal ganglia and cerebellar white matter. Tortuous or thickened optic nerves and/or optic chiasm were seen in eight cases. Brain magnetic resonance imaging scans frequently reveal high-intensity signal lesions and structural abnormalities in selected patients with both probable and definite neurofibromatosis type 1. These findings may allow for a definitive diagnosis in clinically probable cases.