Imaging features and atypical signs of symptomatic vertebral haemangioma: a retrospective single-centre analysis of 118 patients

Lihua Zhang, Ben Wang, Songbo Han, Shaomin Yang, Liang Jiang, Huishu Yuan, Zhongjun Liu
British Journal of Radiology 2021 February 26, : 20201250

OBJECTIVES: Symptomatic vertebral haemangioma (SVH) can present with atypical imaging features. Thus, this study analysed the imaging features of SVH using CT and MRI to improve SVH awareness.

METHODS: We retrospectively analysed CT and MRI characteristics of 118 patients with clinically and pathologically confirmed SVH.

RESULTS: Overall, 118 patients were diagnosed with SVH, including 79 females and 39 males (mean age, 45.76 ± 16.36 years). The thoracic spine ( n = 86) was the most common location of SVH, followed by the lumbar spine ( n = 17). Involvement of multiple spinal segments was observed in 15 patients (12.71%). A total of 101 lesions (85.59%) were centred in the vertebral body, 15 lesions (12.71%) were centred in the posterior attachment, and two lesions (2%) were centred in the paraspinal region. CT showed 39 lesions (33.05%) without a typical honeycomb or polka-dot pattern. Compression fracture was observed in 23 patients (19.49%). Extraosseous extension was present in 111 patients (94.1%), and 17 lesions (14.41%) presented with foraminal extension. Epidural bony compression was observed in 46 patients (38.98%). 20 lesions (16.95%) had atypical T 2 weighted MRI signals, and 8 lesions (10.26%) showed atypical enhancement.

CONCLUSION: SVH was predominantly located in the thoracic spine. Involvement of multiple segments, posterior attachment localisation, absence of honeycomb or polka-dot signs, compression fracture, and atypical T 2 weighted imaging signals and enhancement were uncommon. Epidural bony compression was not uncommon and has important clinical significance.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: The imaging features of SVHs are not fully understood. We examined the largest series of SVH cases reported to date.

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