JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Spinal Hematomas: What a Radiologist Needs to Know

Jennifer L Pierce, Joseph H Donahue, Nicholas C Nacey, Cody R Quirk, Michael T Perry, Nicholas Faulconer, Gene A Falkowski, Michael D Maldonado, Catherine A Shaeffer, Francis H Shen
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2018, 38 (5): 1516-1535
30207937
Spinal hematomas are a frequent indication for radiologic evaluation and can be a diagnostic dilemma for many radiologists and surgeons. There are four types of spinal hematomas: epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, and intramedullary (spinal cord) hematomas. Because they differ by their location in relationship to the meningeal membranes and spinal cord, unique radiologic appearances can be recognized to distinguish these types of spinal hemorrhage. Anatomic knowledge of the spinal compartments is essential to the radiologist for confident imaging diagnosis of spinal hematomas and to specify correct locations. MRI is the modality of choice to diagnose the location of the hematoma, characterize important features such as age of the hemorrhage, and detect associated injury or disease. Each type of spinal hematoma has imaging patterns and characteristics that distinguish it from the others, as these specific spinal compartments displace and affect the adjacent anatomic structures. Early detection and accurate localization of spinal hematomas is critical for the surgeon to address the proper treatment and surgical decompression, when necessary, as neurologic deficits may otherwise become permanent. Online supplemental material is available for this article. © RSNA, 2018.

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