The Ewha Medical Journal
Ewha Womans University School of Medicine
Original Article

MR Findings of Intramedullary Spinal Tumor

Hye-Young Choi, Eun Chul Chung

Copyright ⓒ 1996. Ewha Womans University School of Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jul 24, 2015



The purpose of this study was to analyze the MR findings of intramedullary tumors and review the literatures for evaluating of characteristic findings of each intramedullary tumors.

Materials & Methods

We experienced eight intramedullary tumors from March 1993 to February 1995, including four astrocytomas two ependymoma, one hemangioblastoma, and one cavernoma. MR images were get by 1.5T GE Signa and analized retrospectively.


Intramedullary tumor was demonstrated by MR images in eight patients. They were five men and three women ranging in age from 3 to 56 years and complained both motor and sensory changes and symptom duration was between 6 months and 3 years. Ependymoma showed diffuse homogenous enhancing mass at the level of thoracic cord(T2-3) and thoracolumbar level(T11-L2) without cystic change, One had hemorrhage within the mass and massive leptomeningeal metastasis at all spinal cord and brain. Among astrocystomas, one case at the cervical cord unusually revealed hemorrhage in the mass and regional large syrinx. The other one occured at the conus medullaris portion and showed well-defined mass and intratumoral cystic change. We also experienced rare intramedullary hemangioblastoma, which demonstrated typical signal voided vascular structures revealed homogenous enhancing mass. A very rare intramedullary cavernoma at the level of cervical cord showed typical dark signal hemosiderin rim and variable staged hemorrhage in the mass.


Although, MR imaging appearance of intramedullary tumors is nonspecific, and it is often impossible to differentiate with certainty between the various possible tumors, especially ependymomas and astrucystomas. However, MR findings of hemangioblastoma and cavernoma are specific and possible to diagnose. MR imaging is the unquestioned technique of choice in demonstrating and differentiating the intramedullary tumors.

Keywords: Spinal tumors; Intramedullary tumors; MRI