Clinical significance of intramedullary Gd-DTPA enhancement in cervical myelopathy

H. Ozawa, T. Sato, H. Hyodo, Y. Ishii, N. Morozumi, Y. Koizumi, F. Matsumoto, F. Kasama, T. Aizawa, E. Itoi, S. Kokubun

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Study design:Prospective multicenter study.Objective:To clarify the significance of intramedullary Gd-DTPA enhancement in cervical myelopathy, the prevalence, morphologic features, clinical relevance and postoperative change were investigated.Setting:Four hospitals in Japan.Methods:A total of 683 patients with cervical myelopathy who underwent decompressive surgery were consecutively examined. T1, 2 and Gd-DTPA-enhanced MRI were taken before surgery. Fifty consecutive cases without intramedullary enhancement were allocated in the non-enhancement group. The following variables were investigated: prevalence of the enhancement, the morphologic feature, the relationship between the enhancement and T2 high-intensity areas, the change of the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score for cervical myelopathy and the change of the enhancement after surgery.Results:Intramedullary enhancement was observed in 50 cases (7.3%). The enhancements were observed between the most severely compressed disc and the cranial half of the lower vertebral body. On axial images, they were observed at the posterior or posterolateral periphery of the spinal cord. Enhancement areas were observed within T2 high-intensity areas and smaller than them. The preoperative JOA score was 9.82.8 points in the enhancement group and 9.83.3 points in the non-enhancement group (NS). The postoperative JOA score was 12.72.9 points in the enhancement group and 14.22.4 in the non-enhancement group (P0.006). Intramedullary enhancement disappeared in 60% of the patients 1 year after surgery.Conclusion:Intramedullary enhancement indicated not the severity of preoperative symptoms, but a sign of a worse prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 May


  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Intramedullary Gd-DTPA enhancement
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Prevalence


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