Drop metastases to the pediatric spine revealed with diffusion-weighted MR imaging

Pediatr Radiol. 2012 Aug;42(8):1009-13. doi: 10.1007/s00247-011-2295-9. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Identifying drop metastases to the spine from pediatric brain tumors is crucial to treatment and prognosis. MRI is currently the gold standard for identifying drop metastases, more sensitive than CSF cytology, but imaging is not uncommonly inconclusive. Although diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of the brain is very useful in the evaluation of hypercellular tumors, DWI of the spine has not been clinically useful in children because of susceptibility artifacts and lack of spatial resolution. A new technique, readout-segmented echo planar imaging (EPI), has improved these images, allowing for identification of hypercellular drop metastases. We report a case that illustrates the utility of spine DWI in the detection of metastatic disease in children with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. This case suggests that DWI of the spine with readout-segmented EPI should be included in the evaluation for drop metastases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Rhabdoid Tumor / secondary*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary*


  • Contrast Media