BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Axial-loaded MR imaging, which simulates the spinal canal in a standing position, demonstrates reductions of the dural sac cross-sectional area in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis. However, there has been no useful conventional MRimagingfinding for predicting a reduction in the dural sac cross-sectional area on axial-loaded MR imaging. Previous studies have shown that increased facet fluid is associated with the spinal instability detected during positional changes. The purpose of this study was to analyze the correlations between facet fluid and dynamic changes in the dural sac cross-sectional area on axial-loaded MR imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 93 patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis, the dural sac cross-sectional area was measured by using axial images of conventional and axial-loaded MR imaging. Changes in the dural sac cross-sectional area induced by axial loading were calculated. The correlation between the facet fluid width measured on conventional MR imaging and the change in dural sac crosssectional area was analyzed. The change in the dural sac cross-sectional area was compared between the intervertebral levels with and without the facet fluid width that was over the cutoff value determined in this study. RESULTS: The dural sac cross-sectional area was significantly smaller on axial-loaded MR imaging than on conventional MR imaging. The facet fluid width significantly correlated with the change in the dural sac cross-sectional area (r = 0.73, P <.001). The change in the dural sac cross-sectional area at the intervertebral level with the facet fluid width over the cutoff value was significantly greater than that at the other level. CONCLUSIONS: The increased facet fluid on conventional MR imaging is highly predictive of the dynamic reduction of dural sac cross-sectional area detected on axial-loaded MR imaging in the clinical assessment of lumbar spinal canal stenosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology