Reliability Of T2-Weighted Sagittal Magnetic Resonance Images For Determining The Location Of Compressive Disk Herniation In Dogs

Guillem Gallach R, Suran J, CÁCeres AV, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2011;52:479-486.

Magnetic resonance imaging is used commonly to diagnose intervertebral disk herniation in dogs. It is common to locate areas of suspected compression on sagittal T2-weighted (T2-W) images and then obtain limited transverse images in these areas to reduce the acquisition time (a step-by-step approach). Our objective was to assess the frequency of correct localization of spinal cord compression due to disk herniation using only the sagittal images. The results from isolated readings of the sagittal T2-W images alone or combined with a single-shot fast spin echo (SSFSE) slab in 118 dogs were compared with a gold standard, based on a consensual reading of all images available, including complete transverse images across the entire spinal segments under study. The sites of compression were localized correctly from the sagittal images in 89.8% of dogs. If only the most significant lesions were accounted for, the percentage increased up to 95.2%. In 54.9% of the readings with incorrect localization, the actual compressive site was immediately adjacent to the one suspected from review of the sagittal images. The frequency of correct localization was higher in the cervical region, and was increased by examination of the SSFSE slab. The most common cause of disagreement was the presence of multiple degenerate bulging disks. Based on these results we recommend obtaining transverse images across the entire segment when multiple bulging disks are present. It is also recommended to obtain transverse images across the spaces immediately adjacent to the suspected site of herniation from review of the sagittal images.