Disruption of the complex pathways of the 12 cranial nerves can occur at any site along their course, and many, varied pathologic processes may initially manifest as dysfunction and neuropathy. Radiographic imaging (computed topography or magnetic resonance imaging) is frequently used to evaluate cranial neuropathies; however, indications for imaging and imaging method of choice vary considerably between the cranial nerves. The purpose of this review is to provide an analysis of the diagnostic yield and the most clinically appropriate means to evaluate cranial neuropathies using radiographic imaging. Using the PubMed MEDLINE NCBI database, a total of 49,079 articles' results were retrieved on September 20, 2014. Scholarly articles that discuss the etiology, incidence, and use of imaging in the context of evaluation and diagnostic yield of the 12 cranial nerves were evaluated for the purposes of this review. We combined primary research, guidelines, and best practice recommendations to create a practical framework for the radiographic evaluation of cranial neuropathies.
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