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Arch Med Sci. 2014 Aug 29;10(4):757-63. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2014.44868.

Incidental extraspinal findings on magnetic resonance imaging of intervertebral discs.

Author information

1
Ministry of Health, Dıskapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.
2
Ministry of Health, Mersin Women's and Children's Hospital, Mersin, Turkey.
3
Ministry of Health, Ankara Oncology Education and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

We aimed to evaluate pathological extraspinal findings and congenital anomalies/anatomical variations that were incidentally detected on the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of intervertebral discs, to find the frequencies of these incidental findings, and to emphasise the clinical importance of them.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

A retrospective study including 1031 consecutive patients (730 females and 301 males, with a median age of 46 years) was conducted by evaluating a total of 1106 MRI examinations of intervertebral discs. Examinations were performed with a 1.5 T MRI unit. Incidental findings were classified as pathological findings and congenital anomalies/anatomical variations.

RESULTS:

The percentages of incidental extraspinal pathological findings and congenital anomalies/anatomical variations were 16.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 14.4-18.8) and 3.7% (95% CI: 2.6-4.3), respectively. The percentage of incidental extraspinal pathological findings on cervical spinal MRI was 25.7% (95% CI: 20.1-31.7), thyroid nodules being the most common incidental findings. On thoracic spinal MRI (n = 19), inferior pole thyroid nodules were demonstrated as incidental extraspinal pathological findings, with a percentage of 10.5% (95% CI: 9.6-11.5). On lumbar spinal MRI, incidental pathological findings were detected with a percentage of 14.2% (95% CI: 11.9-16.6), while the percentage of congenital anomalies/anatomical variations was 4.8% (95% CI: 3.4-6.3). Eventually, 6.5% (95% CI: 2.6-9.4) of all cases with incidental extraspinal pathological findings underwent surgery.

CONCLUSIONS:

On MRI examination of intervertebral discs, paying attention to incidentally detected pathological extraspinal findings and congenital anomalies/anatomical variations is very important due to the fact that they can alter the treatment of the patient or affect the patient's life.

KEYWORDS:

congenital anomalies; incidental findings; intervertebral disc; magnetic resonance imaging

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