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Lumbar Disk High Intensity Zones On MRI: Are They Clinically Significant? 2004

Romero, Miriam, M.D., Sattenberg, Ronald, M.D., Wong, Alexis,M.D., Hinz, Brian, R.T., Rafal, Richard, M.D., Bettmann, Michael, M.D.

Purpose:
There has been much debate and literature on the significance of the lumbar disk high intensity zone (HIZ) on MRI imaging. Does this imaging finding have a clinical correlate with lower back pain?, What is the pathological correalte?, Is it worthy of reporting in examination interpretation, or will it lead to confusion?. These are some of the questions which need to be settled, or at least brought to a level of awareness.

Material and Methods:
A systematic review of the radiological literature was performed. Studies on the lumbar disk HIZ were compiled, and the findings are compared and contrasted.

Many authors are in agreement on the significance of the HIZ, however, there still is some controversy on its significance.

Results and Conclusions:
The lumbar disk high signal intensity zone (HIZ) on MRI has been assessed relative to low back pain, and although it can often be correlated with low back pain, its utility is somewhat controversial due to its relatively low sensitivity and specificity. This will be presented in the exhibit.

Although, there is still some debate over the significance of the lumbar disk HIZ, the presentation of the data will enable the observer to formulate his/ her own opinion, or at least to appreciate the controversy.

Similarly, the imaging finding of the HIZ will be demonstrated in the exhibit. The pathological correlate of the HIZ will also be discussed.