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MRI imaging pattern of metastasis and tuberculous spondylitis in the spine: serial case report

  • Krista Putri Asih ,
  • Made Widhi Asih ,
  • Elysanti Dwi Martadiani ,


Background: Tuberculous spondylitis and spinal metastasis manifestations have a similar clinical manifestation. Spinal metastasis prevalence is high in malignant process while tuberculosis is frequent in endemic areas. Back pain, paresthesia, and paralysis are commonly caused by vertebral fractures, soft tissue mass, and spinal canal involvement. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful modality in the pattern differentiation of these diseases. This case series aimed to provide a differentiation between those two diseases using MRI.

Case report: In the first case, we presented a 24-year-old female complained of hip pain without history of tuberculosis infection or malignancy. Whole spine MRI showed kyphotic deformity, compression of T9 vertebral body, erosion of anterior aspect T8 and T10 vertebral body, and subligamentous abscess at T7-T12 vertebrae level. Tuberculous infection was proven. The second case was a 39-year-old female complained of leg weakness without complaint of cough or breathing difficulty. Whole spine MRI showed kyphotic thoracic vertebrae, compression T10 vertebral body, destruction of inferior endplate T9 vertebrae, bone marrow changes on thoracic vertebral body, and paravertebral soft tissue mass on anterior T6 to T11 vertebral body. Tuberculosis etiology was proven. The third case was a 51-year-old female that came to the hospital due to waist pain with no history of tuberculosis infection or malignancy. Whole spine MRI revealed T8 and T9 vertebral body compression and bone marrow replacement on cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae, spinous process of thoracic and lumbar, bilateral posterior rib T4-T5, and soft tissue mass at the posterior T9 vertebrae. In the last case, we presented a 58-year-old male that complianed pain in the back and both legs. Lumbosacral MRI showed compression fracture with signal intensity change on L3 vertebral body, bone marrow replacement on thoracic, lumbar, and sacral vertebrae, expanding to epidural and cause spinal canal stenosis. CT-scan thorax showed lung malignancy proven to be non-small cell lung carcinoma. A spinal biopsy revealed malignant infiltration.

Conclusion: Tuberculous spondylitis and metastasis differentiation can be a challenge. Early complaints mostly are back pain, paresthesia, and paralysis. Spine MRI can differentiate the pattern of both diseases and identify the possible etiology.


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How to Cite

Asih, K. P., Asih, M. W. ., & Martadiani, E. D. . (2023). MRI imaging pattern of metastasis and tuberculous spondylitis in the spine: serial case report. Intisari Sains Medis, 14(3), 1393–1396.




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Krista Putri Asih
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ISM Journal

Made Widhi Asih
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Elysanti Dwi Martadiani
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ISM Journal