[Lumbar intraspinal juxtafacet cysts: MR imaging and CT-arthrography].Rofo. 2002 Oct; 174(10):1247-52.ROFO
To present data on the MR imaging appearance of lumbar intraspinal juxtafacet cysts (JFC) and to assess the importance of additional CT arthrography.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Twenty-eight patients (16 women, 12 men) with a mean age of 64 years (range: 43 - 82), who underwent MR imaging because of radicular pain or spinal claudication, were found to have an intraspinal cyst associated with the facet joint. In 14 patients, additional CT-arthrography was performed to determine whether a communication exists between the cyst and the facet joint and to try to rupture the cyst.
In T(2)-weighted images, juxtafacet cysts show a typical pattern consisting of a hyperintense center and hypointense rim. The center is likely to be inhomogeneous because of recurrent hemorrhage in the cyst. In T1-weighted images, the cysts are hypo/isointense. Irregular hyperintensity may indicate subacute hemorrhage, which may aggravate the clinical symptoms. MR allows superior visualization of the cyst in all anatomical planes. It also enables assessment of typical accompanying changes, such as degenerative spondylolisthesis and facet hypertrophy. All patients, who had CT-arthrography, were found to have a direct communication between joint space and cyst. Transarticular rupture of the cyst was possible in five patients. Two of these five patients had good to excellent improvement, and the remaining three patients underwent surgery.
MR imaging is the method of choice for diagnosing lumbar intraspinal juxtafacet cysts. CT-arthrography of the facet joint is helpful in cases with difficult differential diagnosis, and in the preoperative planning. Furthermore, it assists in the primary interventional treatment.