, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 39-43

MRI in intraspinal tuberculosis

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We studied 20 patients with intraspinal tuberculosis (TB), to characterise the MRI features of tuberculous meningitis and myelitis. MRI leptomeningitis and intramedullary involvement in 11 patients, intramedullary lesions alone in 5, leptomeningitis alone in 2, and isolated extradural disease in 2. TB leptomeningitis was characterised by loculation of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), nerve root thickening and clumping (seen only in the lumbar region) or complete obliteration of the subarachnoid space on unenhanced images. Gd-DTPA-enhanced images proved useful in 6 cases, revealing linear enhancement of the surface of the spinal cord and nerve roots or plaque-like enhancement of the dura-arachnoid mater complex. Intramedullary lesions included tuberculomas (8), cord oedema (5) and cavitation (3). In seven cases of intramedullary tuberculoma multiple lesions with skip areas were seen, without significant cord swelling. One patient had an isolated lesion in the conus medullaris. The lesions were iso- or hypointense on T1-weighted images, iso-, hypo- or hyperintense on T2-weighted images and showed rim or nodular enhancement with contrast medium.