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MRI Signal Intensity Needs More Study As Outcome Predictor

Postoperative MRI signal intensity moderately reflects symptomatology and surgical outcomes

WEDNESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Postoperative MRI signal intensity does not significantly reflect postoperative symptoms or outcomes, according to an article published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Yasutsugu Yukawa, M.D., and colleagues of the Nagoya University School of Medicine in Nagoya, Japan, prospectively enrolled 104 patients with cervical compressive myelopathy who were to undergo a cervical expansive laminoplasty. Patients underwent MRI preoperatively and, on average, 39.7 months postoperatively. Increased signal intensity of the spinal cord was divided into three grades and the severity of myelopathy was evaluated according to the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score for cervical myelopathy. The authors hypothesized increased MRI signal intensity reflects postoperative severity of symptoms and surgical outcomes.

Increased MRI signal intensity of the spinal cord was seen in 86 patients (83 percent) preoperatively and 73 patients (70 percent) postoperatively, the researchers report. There was some variability in postoperative JOA scores and recovery rates according to the postoperative classification of increased signal intensity, but the difference was not statistically significant. Increases in signal intensity were noted in 24 patients but these changes were not correlated with worsening outcomes.

"The postoperative increased signal intensity classification reflected postoperative symptomatology and surgical outcomes to some extent, without statistically significant differences. The alteration of increased signal intensity was seen postoperatively in 24 patients (23 percent) and was not correlated with surgical outcome," the authors conclude.

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