Imaging

Parkinson's Disease

Preliminary Diagnosis: Parkinson's Disease

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

  • Contrasted MR of the brain.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Advantages

  • More sensitive and specific in identifying and characterizing any gray and/or white matter abnormalities than other imaging modalities

  • May adequately evaluate the pars compacta, pars tensa, and the substantia nigra, which are important in Parkinson's disease pathology and diagnosis

Disadvantages

  • Expensive

  • Time consuming

  • Requires significant patient cooperation to minimize motion artifact

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

  • Contraindicated in patients with non–MR-compatible hardware

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • CT of the brain without contrast

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

CT of the Brain without contrast

Advantages

  • Less expensive and quicker to perform than MR imaging

Disadvantages

  • Less sensitive and specific in evaluating midbrain structures affected in Parkinson's disease

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

CT of the Brain without contrast

  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients

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