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Imaging of compressive vertebral haemangiomas.

Compressive vertebral haemangiomas (VHs) are rare. Correct preoperative diagnosis is useful both for operative planning (since compressive VHs are extremely vascular lesions) and to allow preoperative embolisation. Numerous radiological signs for VHs have been described, but compressive VHs frequently have atypical features. In particular, magnetic resonance features are not well established. We present imaging features in three cases of compressive VH and review the imaging findings in an additional 106 previously published cases. Findings were typical in 52 of 80 plain film (65%), 33 of 41 computed tomography (80%) and 13 of 25 magnetic resonance examinations (52%). The prevalence of previously described imaging features is reported. Awareness of the range of magnetic resonance features is important since this is frequently the initial investigation in patients presenting with symptoms of neural compression. Since computed tomography is typical in 80% of cases, this is a useful confirmatory test if magnetic resonance features are suspicious but not diagnostic of compressive VH.

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