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Heliyon. 2018 Sep 19;4(9):e00803. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00803. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Incidental extraspinal findings in the lumbar spine during magnetic resonance imaging of intervertebral discs.

Author information

Faculty of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Sciences, The National Ribat University, Khartoum, Sudan.
College of Medical Radiological Sciences, Sudan University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan.
Medical Imaging Department, College of Health Science, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates.
Radiology and Medical Imaging Department, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia.



To calculate the frequencies of incidental extraspinal findings and incidentally detected congenital anomalies or anatomical differences in the lumbar spine on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of intervertebral discs.

Materials and methods:

A total of 379 lumbar spine MRI cases were prospectively investigated in the period spanning from August 2016 to January 2018. Both 1.5 and 0.35 Tesla MRI units (Toshiba and Siemens Medical Systems) were used to examine patients with clinically suspected intervertebral disc abnormalities at three MRI diagnostic centers in Khartoum State, Sudan.


Of the 379(100%) patients, 90(23.7%) patients were presented with incidental findings. Among the incidental findings, 39(10.3%) were renal cysts, 10(2.6%) were retroverted uteri, 5(1.3%) were Nabothian cysts, 4(1.1%) were ovarian cysts, 10(2.6%) were uterine fibroids, 3(0.8%) were endometrial thickening, 11(2.9%) were indicative of hydronephrosis, 4(1.1%) were uncovered prostatic enlargement, 2(0.5%) were atrophic kidney, and 1(0.3%) each was of an ectopic kidney and bladder wall thickening, respectively.


A high percentage of extraspinal pathological findings were detected during MRI lumbar spine scans of intervertebral discs. Thus, it is important to be aware of the high percentage of patients who undergo further evaluation given the presence of unexpected findings, but for whom clinical confirmation of these abnormalities is not obtained.


Medical imaging

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