Role of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluation of tubercular spondylitis: pattern of disease in 100 patients with review of literature.

Department of Radiodiagnosis, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh.
JNMA; journal of the Nepal Medical Association (Impact Factor: 0.17). 01/2011; 51(183):116-21.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in evaluation of tubercular spondylitis and to correlate imaging findings with clinical severity of the disease.
One hundred consecutive patients, who presented with features suggestive of spinal infections, were subjected to MRI examination. T1W and STIR images were obtained followed by T2W and post-contrast T1W images. Various imaging characteristics of spinal infections were noted and correlated with the clinical severity of the disease.
Backache was the most common presenting symptom present in 86 %, while paraparesis was the most common sign seen in 62 %. The neurological status of the patients correlated well with MRI findings in the majority of the cases with an overall good correlation obtained in 96 % of cases. The majority of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs affected showed hypointensity or isointensity on T1W images and hyperintensity on T2W images. Epidural/dural disease was present in 74 % while 68 % of patients demonstrated decreased intervertebral disc height. Epidural extension and subligamentous spread was in 74 % and 90 % of patients respectively.
MRI plays a vital role in early and accurate diagnosis of spinal infections. It is non-invasive and clearly demonstrates soft tissue anatomy and pathology which makes it superior to X-rays and Computed Tomography (CT). Imaging findings of tubercular spondylitis were also found to have a good correlation with the clinical status of the patients. Hence, it is of much help in the evaluation and assessment of patients presenting with features of spinal infections.