Devoted to diagnostic and interventional spine imaging and therapeutics


Incidental Extra-Spinal Findings on MR Imaging of the Spine 2007

General Spine

Jaya Nath, MD
Daniel Zinn, MD, Non ASSR Member
Arash Gohari, MD, Non ASSR Member
Harry Zinn, MD, Non ASSR Member

Scientific Poster

Exhibit Panels: 1


Incidental findings are often encountered in MR imaging of the spine-most commonly in pre and paravertebral regions. Some of these findings are life-threatening and require emergent evaluation (aortic pseudoaneurysm).Other findings are clearly benign (dilated cisterna Chyli, Bochdalek hernia). Others may require further work-up (renal and adrenal masses). Careful evaluation of these unexpected findings may help direct management of these lesions leading to decrease in morbidity and mortality and avoidance of any unnecessary or potentially harmful tests.

Methods & Materials

The MRI protocol comprised standard MR sequences utilizing fast spin echo T1 and T2-weighted sequences. Post-gadolinium T1 weighted images were obtained in some cases. Images were obtained on a Siemens 1.5-T symphony system.


Examples of numerous incidental findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of spine included:
Dliated cisterna chyli, extramedullary hematopoiesis, Bochdalek hernia, bronchogenic cysts, Adrenal pheochromocytoma, adrenal metastases, aortic aneurysm, retroperitoneal lymphadenoparhy, cystic and solid renal masses, thyroid lesions, skeletal masses, azygos/IVC variants, and pelvic and mediastinal masses.


Significant extraspinal findings may first present on MR imaging of the spine. Familiarity with the imaging appearances with meticulous evaluation of these findings can help in arriving at a correct diagnosis leading to proper management.