Value of magnetic resonance myelography in the diagnosis of disc herniation and spinal stenosis

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Magnetic resonance imaging provides a good-quality image over the entire length of the spine and can assess the morphology of the discs and cord. It is the imaging modality of choice in the investigation of spinal diseases. Magnetic resonance myelography (MRM) is non-invasive, has comparable sensitivity to conventional myelography in visualizing lumbar nerve roots and allows overall assessment of the spinal canal even in the presence of cerebrospinal fluid block. Seventy-two patients with pre-surgical diagnosis of disc herniation were prospectively investigated prior to surgery to determine the value of MRM in the diagnosis of disc herniation and spinal stenosis. The difference between the sensitivity and accuracy of MRI (89.0-95.6%, 89.1-95.7%) and MRM (82.4-89.0%, 82.6-89.1%) was not significant for both observers. There was no significant improvement with the addition of MRM to MRI (91.2-97.8%, 91.3-97.8%). Although MRM did not significantly improve the diagnostic accuracy of MRI, it allowed a better overall view of the dural sac and root sleeves, therefore making it easier to diagnose spinal stenosis and disc herniation in a minority of cases.


Australasian Radiology