Semin Musculoskelet Radiol 2004; 8(3): 215-229
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-835362
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA.

MR Imaging of Spinal Infection

Bernhard J. Tins1 , Victor N. Cassar-Pullicino1
  • 1Department of Radiology, The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 October 2004 (online)

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis and management of spinal infection, enjoying a high sensitivity and specificity. A thorough understanding of spinal anatomy and the physicochemical pathological processes associated with infection is a desirable prerequisite allowing accurate interpretation of the disease process. Apart from confirmation of the disease, MR imaging is also best suited to excluding multifocal spinal involvement and the detection/exclusion of complications. It plays an essential role in the decision-making process concerning conservative versus surgical treatment and is also the best imaging method to monitor the effect of treatment. The MR features of infection confidently exclude tumor, degeneration, and so forth as the underlying process; differentiate pyogenic from granulomatous infections in most cases; and can suggest the rarer specific infective organisms.


Victor N Cassar-Pullicino, L.R.C.P. , M.R.C.S. , M.D. , D.M.R.D. , F.R.C.R. 

Department of Radiology, The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry

Shropshire SY10 7AG, United Kingdom