Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Spine in Oncology
Before MRI was widely available, myelography, postmyelographic CT, and bone scans were the mainstay of the evaluation of possible tumours of the spine. Recently, MRI has begun to replace these modalities in many clinical situations. Soon after its inception, MRI was found to be often superior to CT in its ability to detect, delineate, and characterize lesions in the spine . This was true because of its greater sensitivity to pathologic conditions, its freedom from bony artifact, and the advantages of multiplanar capability. Because of these advantages, MRI rapidly became the procedure of choice for much of the evaluation of the spine. The recent addition of contrast agents has completed this trend [2–4). While MRI was previously criticized for lacking either sensitivity or specificity in certain disease processes, the application of gadopentetate dimeglumine, until recently known as gadolinium-DTPA, has significantly diminished this weakness. In this chapter, the uses of MRI in neuro-oncologic diagnosis in the spine will be described.
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