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J Korean Radiol Soc. 1997 Jul;37(1):139-144. English. Original Article.
Oh KH , Lee JM , Jung HY , Lee YH , Sung NK , Chung DS , Kim OD , Lee SK , Suh KJ .
Department of Radiology, Catholic University of Taegu-Hyosung, School of Medicine.
Department of Radiology, Kyungbuk National University School of Medicine.

PURPOSE: To evaluate MR findings of redundant nerve roots (RNR) of the cauda equina. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 17 patients with RNR were studied; eight were men and nine were women, and their ages ranged from 46 to 82 (mean63) years. Diagnoses were established on the basis of T2-weighted sagittal and coronal MRI, which showed a tortuous or coiled configuration of the nerve roots of the cauda equina. MR findings were reviewed for location, magnitude, and signal intensity of redundant nerve roots, and the relationship between magnitude of redundancy and severity of lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSCS) was evaluated. RESULTS: In all 17 patients, MR showed moderate or severe LSCS caused by herniation or bulging of an intervertebral disc, osteophyte from the vertebral body or facet joint, thickening of the ligamentum flavum, degenerative spondylolisthesis, or a combination of these. T2-weighted sagittal and coronal MR images well clearly showed the location of RNR of the cauda equina; in 16 patients (94%), these were seen above the level of constriction of the spinal canal, and in one case, they were observed below the level of constriction. T2-weighted axial images showed the thecal sac filled with numerous nerve roots. The magnitude of RNR was mild in six cases (35%), moderate in five cases (30%), and severe in six cases (35%). Compared with normal nerve roots, the RNR signal on T2-weighted images was iso-intense. All patients with severe redundancy showed severe LSCS, but not all cases with severe LSCS showed severe redundancy. CONCLUSION: Redundant nerve roots of cauda equina were seen in relatively older patients with moderate or severe LSCS and T2-weighted MR images were accurate in identifying redundancy of nerve roots and evaluating their magnitude and location.

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