Background and purpose: The demonstration of communication between arachnoid cysts (ACs) and the adjacent subarachnoid space is a prerequisite for their proper management. CT cisternography (CTC) is the conventional method for functional evaluation of ACs. The sensitivity of MR imaging to CSF flow has been demonstrated, but reports of the clinical usefulness of MR CSF flow techniques in this application are limited. The purpose of our study was to prospectively evaluate the accuracy of MR CSF flow study as an alternative to CTC in this setting.
Methods: MR CSF flow study with retrospective ECG-gated 2D, fast low-angle shot, phase-contrast (PC), cine gradient-echo sequence was performed in 39 patients with an intracranial AC. Results were compared with intraoperative and CTC findings.
Results: PC cine MR imaging results were compatible with operative or CTC findings in 36 (92.3%) of 39 patients. Twenty-four cysts were noncommunicating, and 15 were communicating. Three cysts were evaluated as being noncommunicating on PC cine MR imaging (false-negative) but demonstrated contrast enhancement on CTC. No false-positive diagnoses occurred. All cysts regarded as being communicating on PC cine MR imaging were also found to be communicating on both confirmation methods.
Conclusion: MR CSF flow imaging with a PC cine sequence can be incorporated in the imaging work-up of ACs. This is a reliable alternative to invasive CTC for the functional evaluation of ACs.