PURPOSE: We compared the detection rate of syringomyelia according to the type of magnetic resonance (MR) images among the Korean military conscription. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Among the total of 238910 examinees (males aged 18 to 32 years old) from January 2008 to December 2011, the examinees with conventional single lesion MR images (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar) with and without whole spine sagittal T2-weighted MR images (WSST2I) totaled 1206 cases, and syringomyelia was observed in 24 cases. The detection rate of syringomyelia according to the MR protocol (the presence of WSST2I or not) was done through analysis by annually and the clinical characters of syringomyelia was reviewed. RESULTS: The estimated prevalence of syringomyelia was approximately 10.0 cases per 100000 people. The detection rate was increased annually when the WSST2I proportion was increased (from 3.4 to 14.9 cases per 100000 persons, r = 0.939, p = 0.018). Clinical character of syringomyelia was ambiguous with other spinal diseases. The most affected spinal level was C5 to C7 (83%), and most cases were non-communicating syringomyelia with benign central canal widening (79%). CONCLUSION: Whole spine sagittal MR image is useful to detect coexisting spinal diseases such as syringomyelia, and most syringomyelia in young males was benign hydromyelia. A whole spine sagittal MR image is recommended to increase the detection of syringomyelia.