Acute benign vertebral compression fractures: “see-through sign” on contrast-enhanced MR images
We reviewed spinal MR images of 58 patients with 98 compressed vertebrae. Benign (47 vertebrae) or malignant (51 vertebrae) etiology was established by biopsy or radiologic follow-up. Compressed vertebrae were analyzed for presence and characteristics of signal abnormality, altered vertebral contour, Schmorl's nodes, pedicular involvement, and contrast uptake. Statistical analysis was performed. Diffuse and homogeneous decrease in signal intensity on T1-weighted images, convex vertebral contour, involvement of the pedicles, and a lumbar location were more frequently observed in malignant fractures (P < .01). A thoracic location, lack of signal change, or a band-like abnormality and absence of pedicular involvement or contour abnormality characterized benign fractures (P < .01). Schmorl's nodes and enhancement did not help establish a diagnosis. When a constellation of MR criteria are applied, the accuracy of the diagnosis of malignant and benign vertebral compression fractures may reach 94%.