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J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Dec;15(6):648-53. doi: 10.3171/2011.7.SPINE10843. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Analysis of ascending spinal tract degeneration in cervical spondylotic myelopathy using 3D anisotropy contrast single-shot echo planar imaging on a 3.0-T system.

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1
Center for Integrated Human Brain Science, Brain Research Institute, University of Niigata, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECT:

The authors assessed the role of 3D anisotropy contrast (3DAC) in evaluating specific ascending tract degeneration in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS:

The authors studied 10 patients (2 women, 8 men; mean age 59.8 ± 14.6 years) with CSM and spinal cord compression below the C2-3 disc level, as well as 10 healthy control individuals (3 women, 7 men; mean age 42.0 ± 24.1 years). Images of the cervical cord at the C2-3 level were obtained using a 3.0-T MR imaging system.

RESULTS:

Three-dimensional anisotropy contrast imaging clearly made possible tract-by-tract analysis of the fasciculus cuneatus, fasciculus gracilis, and spinocerebellar tract. Tract degeneration identified using 3DAC showed good correlation with a decline in fractional anisotropy. Degeneration of the fasciculus gracilis detected by "vector contrast" demonstrated a good correlation with Nurick grades.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study unambiguously demonstrated that 3DAC imaging is capable of assessing ascending tract degeneration in patients with CSM. Degeneration of an individual tract can be easily identified as a vector contrast change on the 3DAC image, a reflection of quantitative changes in anisotropism, similar to fractional anisotropy. Excellent correlation between Nurick grades and fasciculus gracilis degeneration suggests potential application of 3DAC imaging for tract-by-tract clinical correlation.

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PMID:
21905771
DOI:
10.3171/2011.7.SPINE10843
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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