Significance of sagittal reformations in routine thoracic and abdominal multislice CT studies for detecting osteoporotic fractures and other spine abnormalities

Eur Radiol. 2008 Aug;18(8):1696-702. doi: 10.1007/s00330-008-0920-2. Epub 2008 Apr 17.


The purpose was to assess osteoporotic vertebral fractures and other spinal lesions in sagittal reformations obtained from routine multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) studies of the thorax and abdomen, to compare sagittal reformations with axial images in detecting these lesions and to investigate how frequently they were missed in the official radiology report. Routine abdominal or thoracoabdominal MDCT using a standard protocol was performed in 112 postmenopausal women. Axial images and sagittal reformations were analyzed separately by two radiologists in consensus and were compared in order to evaluate how often spinal lesions could be detected. In addition the official radiology reports were assessed to determine how many of those abnormalities were identified. Spine abnormalities were visualized in 101/112 postmenopausal women. In 27 patients osteoporotic vertebral deformities were found; 6 of these were shown in the axial images, but none of these were diagnosed in the official radiology report. Additional abnormalities included degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis of the facet joints, scoliosis, hemangiomas and bone metastases. In only 9/101 patients spine abnormalities were mentioned in the radiology report. Sagittal reformations of standard MDCT images provide important additional information on spinal abnormalities; in particular, osteoporotic vertebral deformities are substantially better detected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography, Abdominal / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Fractures / complications
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*