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J Pak Med Assoc. 2011 Jun;61(6):555-8.

Acute vertebral compression fracture: differentiation of malignant and benign causes by diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Radiology, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi.



To evaluate the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of diffusion weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the diagnosis and differentiation between benign (osteoporotic/infectious) and malignant vertebral compression fractures in comparison with histology findings and clinical follow up.


The study was conducted at the Radiology Department, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Karachi. It was a one year cross-sectional study from 01/01/2009 to 01/01/2010. Forty patients with sixty three vertebral compression fractures were included. Diffusion-weighted sequences and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) images on a 1.5 T MR scanner were obtained in all patients to identify the vertebral compression fracture along with benign and malignant causes. Imaging findings were compared with histopathologic results and clinical follow-up.


Diffusion-weighted MR imaging found to have, 92% sensitivity, 90% specificity and accuracy of 85% in differentiation of benign and malignant vertebral compression fracture while PPV and NPV were 78 % and 90% respectively.


Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging offers a safe, accurate and non invasive modality to differentiate between the benign and malignant vertebral compression fracture.

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