Preliminary Diagnosis: Dorsal Column Disease

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

Magnetic resonance contrasted intradural protocol of the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar spine.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosing dorsal column disease.

  • Specific and sensitive in detailing signal abnormality within the spinal cord and able to detail the gray/white matter and dorsal/anterior/ and lateral columns with exquisite detail.

  • Offers excellent visualization of the intardural and extradural and associated structures.

  • Expensive.

  • Time consuming.

  • Requires significant patient cooperation to minimize motion artifact.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

Contraindicated in patients with non-MR compatible hardware.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

No specific alternative imaging techniques exist.