[Imaging of tumors of the spine and spinal cord].Nihon Igaku Hoshasen Gakkai Zasshi. 2000 May; 60(6):302-11.NI
Imaging of the spine and spinal cord has traditionally been accomplished with plain radiography, myelography, and CT. Recently, MR imaging has become the technique of choice in the assessment of lesions of the spine and spinal cord. MR imaging provides accurate localization of intramedullary, intradural extramedullary, and extradural tumors. Ependymomas and low-grade astrocytomas are the most common intramedullary tumors. MR imaging findings are distinguishable by the delineation and size of the lesion, and the signal intensity on T2-weighted images. Other less common tumors include malignant astrocytomas, hemangioblastomas, and intramedullary metastasis. Numerous foci of high-velocity signal loss are seen in the hemangioblastomas. Metastasis, meningiomas, and schwannomas are the most common intradural extramedullary tumors. Meningiomas are characterized by dural enhancement on postcontrast T1-weighted images. Schwannomas and neurofibromas often erode bony structures and appear to be dumbbell-shaped. Epidural metastasis accounts for the majority of extradural tumors. Primary malignant extradural tumors include lymphomas, chordomas, and so on. The most common primary benign extradural tumor is hemangioma, which often appears to be hyperintense on both T1-weighted and T2-weighted images. Intramedullary non-neoplastic lesions include demyelinating, vascular, and infectious diseases. Diffuse, peripheral, or speckled contrast enhancement, and lack of contrast enhancement may suggest non-neoplastic lesions.