Nodular fasciitis: correlation of MRI findings and histopathology
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Objective: To compare the histopathology of nodular fasciitis (NF) with the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in order to evaluate the basis of the MR signal characteristics. Design and patients: Ten patients with NF, nine females and 1 male, with an age ranging from 13 to 58 years (mean 26.8 years) were studied. MRI findings, available in all 10 patients, were compared with the histopathology in nine patients, and an area-to-area comparative study of the whole specimen section histopathology and MRI was performed in two patients. Results: On the basis of an excisional biopsy or resection specimen, the nine lesions were classified into myxoid (n=4), cellular (n=3) and fibrous (n=2) subtypes. Four myxoid lesions with a subcutaneous location showed a homogeneous SI comparable with muscle on T1-weighted images, high SI on T2-weighted images, and had homogeneous enhancement. One cellular lesion presented with homogeneous, slightly higher SI than muscle on T1-weighted images and inhomogeneous, high SI on T2-weighted images. Alcian blue stain of the whole specimen section revealed the lesion had two parts corresponding to different enhancement patterns on MRI. The blue-stained myxoid part showed markedly diffuse enhancement, while the non-stained cystic space had only peripheral enhancement. Two other cellular lesions had the same appearance on both T1- and T2-weighted images and showed inhomogeneous, diffuse enhancement. One fibrous subtype lesion presented with inhomogeneous, overall slightly higher SI than muscle on T1-weighted images, lower SI at the periphery and high SI in the center on STIR images and only peripheral enhancement. Microscopy and CD-31 staining of the lesion showed more extracellular matrix, with poor vascularity in the center and more collagenous matrix with higher vascularity at the periphery. Conclusion: Although similar findings were found in some lesions, the large histologic variability of NF hampers the definition of a prototype of NF on MRI. However, the MRI appearance of the myxoid subtype is rather characteristic. Histologic findings reflect the different SI characteristics and enhancement pattern on MRI.
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