Intraspinal paragonimiasis is a rare entity for which imaging findings have seldom been described. The present study investigated the MR imaging features of spinal paragonimiasis, thus providing diagnostic imaging evidence and exploring the possible pathogenesis of intraspinal paragonimiasis.
The clinical and imaging findings of spinal paragonimiasis in 6 children were analyzed retrospectively. Spinal MR imaging was performed in all patients, 5 of whom also underwent enhanced MR imaging. The diagnosis was confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in all cases and postoperative pathology in 4 cases.
All cases manifested as fusiform-shaped or beanlike masses in the extradural space in the thoracic spine. The extradural masses were connected with pleural lesions through the intervertebral foramen. The plain MR imaging scan showed mixed signals with predominant isointensity on T1WI and hyperintensity on T2WI, among which 5 (5/6) masses presented as patchy hemorrhage with hyperintensity on T1WI. On enhanced scans, all masses (5/5) showed heterogeneous marked enhancement, with thickening and enhancement in the adjacent spinal meninges (5/5). Various degrees of spinal cord compression and edema were found in 5 cases (5/6).
MR imaging is sensitive for detecting and characterizing spinal paragonimiasis. The MR imaging features of intraspinal granulomas included localization to the extradural space and thoracic segment, connections between intraspinal lesions and pleural lesions through the intervertebral foramen, and hemorrhagic foci within the mass. These findings support an intraspinal mode of paragonimiasis pathogenesis: The Paragonimus larvae migrate from the chest into the extradural space through the intervertebral foramen.