Routine sagittal whole-spine magnetic resonance imaging in finding incidental spine lesions

Yossi Smorgick*, Tal Granek, Yigal Mirovsky, Oded Rabau, Yoram Anekstein, Sigal Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the efficacy and feasibility of T2-weighted whole-spine sagittal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening for all patients who undergo MRI of the lumbar spine for any indication. Methods: A review of 1145 consecutive T2-weighted whole-spine sagittal MRI screening sequences performed for lumbar spine imaging was undertaken for the purposes of documenting the incidence and clinical significance of thoracic and cervical spine incidental findings, as well as to establish correlation between these pathologies and those found in the lumbar spine. Results: Out of the 1145 patients included in the study, 103 (9%) patients had incidental findings thought to be significant. These findings included cervical spinal stenosis (n = 85), thoracic disc herniation (n = 9), syrinx (n = 5), intradural tumor (n = 2), and signal changes within the spinal cord (n = 2). In follow-up exams, 35 patients had clinically significant findings which included cervical myelopathy (n = 25), thoracic myelopathy (n = 3), syrinx (n = 5) and intradural tumor (n = 2). Among the 172 patients presenting with lumbar spinal stenosis, 42 (24.4%) had such incidental findings, and of those 41 (23.8%) had cervical stenosis with spinal cord compression (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: T2-weighted whole-spine sagittal screening is useful in demonstrating clinically relevant incidental findings in any patients undergoing MRI of the lumbar spine. There is a statistically significant correlation between lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical spinal stenosis with spinal cord compression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cervical
  • Incidental findings
  • Tandem stenosis
  • Thoracic
  • Whole spine sagittal magnetic resonance imaging


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