Sensitivity and specificity of MRI in detecting malignant spinal cord compression and in distinguishing malignant from benign compression fractures of vertebrae

King C. Li, Peter Y. Poon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The accuracy of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in the detection of metastatic compression of the spinal cord and the cauda equina (MCCE) in 75 patients with known primary maglignancy outside the central nervous system is determined retrospectively by comparing the MR results with findings of myelography, surgery, clinical follow-up and autopsy. The sensitivity is 93%, the specificity 97% and the overall accuracy 95%. The signal intensity measured in the sagittal MR images of a collapsed vertebral body is divided by that of an average of three adjacent normal vertebrae to form a signal intensity ratio (SIR). The SIRs of 41 metastatic and 15 post-traumatic collapsed vertebrae are calculated. A ratio of 0.8 has the most differentiating power. All benign and one malignant compressed vertebrae have SIRs greater than 0.8.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer (metastatic to spine)
  • Collapsed vertebrae
  • MRI
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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