Devoted to diagnostic and interventional spine imaging and therapeutics


The Paraspinal Musculature: A Review of Normal Anatomy and Pathologic Processes 2012

General Spine

Joe, G, Harb, D.O.
Ay-Ming, Wang, M.D., Non ASSR Member
Richard, Silbergleit, M.D., Non ASSR Member



To review the normal anatomy of the paraspinal musculature and present the spectrum of diseases and pathology which can involve the paraspinal musculature.

Methods & Materials

Numerous cases with MRI findings correlating with clinical diagnosis gathered from our institution will be presented covering a wide spectrum of paraspinal muscle pathology as well as normal anatomy.


Cases presented include an overview of normal paraspinal muscle anatomy on MRI. Disease processes manifesting in the paraspinal muscles covered in this presentation include multiple infectious processes, primary and secondary neoplasm, rhabdomyolysis, trauma, and denervation atrophy bilaterally as well as unilaterally including polio.


Numerous disease processes can manifest with pathology involving the paraspinal musculature. Knowledge of the normal anatomy is useful in defining the extent of the pathologic process. A focused differential diagnosis can be made on the basis of anatomic localization and imaging findings which can improve patient management.

References/Financial Disclosures

Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Macdonald AJ, et al. Diagnostic and Surgical Imaging Amatomy: Brain, Head & Neck, Spine. 1st ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Amirsys Inc.; 2007:Section III. Niemeläinen R, Briand MM, Battié MC. Substantial asymmetry in paraspinal muscle cross-sectional area in healthy adults questions its value as a marker of low back pain and pathology. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Dec 1;36(25):2152-7.