Prevalence of incidental intraspinal lipoma of the lumbosacral spine as determined by mri

Elaine Brown, Janet C. Matthes, Carlos Bazan, J. Randy Jinkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Study Design. The prevalence and appcarancc MRI of lipomas of this filum terminals wes studied In a random population referred to MRI for evaluation at lha lumbosacral spine. The MRI scans of 100 patients selected at random were? retrospectively reviewed. Objectives. The study sought to determine the frequency and MRI appearance Of Incidental filum lipomas in a random population. Summary of Background Data. Postmen Lem studies have reported a 4%-6% incidence of occult fitrolipomas of the filum terminals In what were thought to bi otherwise normal spinal cords. The improved resolution of MRI imaging allows the detection of small amounts of fat associated With th& filum terminale lhat Heretofore had nui been demonstrated on radiologie:meging examinations, Methods. The lumbosacral spine unenhanced MRI scans of 100 patients rot previously operated upon were selected at random and were rétrospectively reviewed by two of the authors (EB and JCM). Results. Of the 100 MRI examinations reviewed, four patients were found to have smell lipomas of Hin filum terminale. No spiral dysrophisnn or cord tethering were present in these four pptients. Their clinical symptoms were rented to disc herniation in two patients, spinal stenosis in one, and diaeitis in one. The lipomatous tissue was hypcrinlensc to cerebrospinal lluid (CSF1 on T1-weighted lm;tgei and hypointense to CSF on T2-weighted images Conclusions. Incidental lipomes of the filum terminals were pfesant in 4% of 100 lumbosacral apine MRI examinations in a random papulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-836
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Filum terminale
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Spinal anomaly
  • Spinal fipoma
  • Tumbar spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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