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Radiology. 2014 May;271(2):488-98. doi: 10.1148/radiol.13130399. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Differentiation of acute osteoporotic and malignant compression fractures of the spine: use of additive qualitative and quantitative axial diffusion-weighted MR imaging to conventional MR imaging at 3.0 T.

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From the Departments of Radiology (J.K.S., W.H.J., J.Y.J., M.C., S.Y.L.), Orthopedic Surgery (Y.H.K., K.Y.H.), and Neurosurgery (C.K.P.), Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, School of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 505 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul 137-701, South Korea; and Department of Radiology, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (S.Y.L.).



To retrospectively determine the value of adding qualitative and quantitative axial diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging to standard spine magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to differentiate between acute osteoporotic and malignant compression fractures at 3.0 T.


The institutional ethics committee approved this retrospective study and waived the requirement to obtain informed consent. The authors retrospectively analyzed 3.0-T MR images, including DW images (b values: 0, 800, and 1400 sec/mm(2)), in 62 patients with acute compression fractures. Three radiologists independently interpreted MR images for the presence of malignancy by using conventional MR images alone and in combination with axial DW images with qualitative and quantitative analysis. Apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) were measured within solid portion with careful use of a small region of interest (ROI). The Mann-Whitney U test was performed.


There were 30 malignant and 32 acute osteoporotic compression fractures. At qualitative analysis, hyperintensity relative to spinal cord was more frequent in malignant compression fractures than in acute osteoporotic compression fractures (87% vs 22%, respectively; P < .001). Median ADCs of malignant fractures were significantly lower than those of benign fractures (P < .001). With conventional MR imaging alone, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 100%, 94%, and 97%, respectively, for reader 1; 97%, 78%, and 87% for reader 2; and 100%, 84%, and 92% for reader 3. With conventional and DW MR imaging combined, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 100%, 97%, and 98% for all three readers. The addition of DW imaging led to correct changes in diagnosis: Reader 1 improved by 1.6% (one of 62 fractures), reader 2 improved by 11% (seven of 62 fractures), and reader 3 improved by 6.5% (four of 62 fractures).


The addition of axial DW imaging to a conventional MR imaging protocol improved diagnostic accuracy in the differentiation of acute osteoporotic from malignant compression fractures by measuring ADCs in the solid portion with careful use of a small ROI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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