MRI features of spinal epidural angiolipomas

Korean J Radiol. 2013 Sep-Oct;14(5):810-7. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2013.14.5.810. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Objective: To describe the MRI findings in ten patients of spinal epidural angiolipoma for differentiated diagnosis presurgery.

Materials and methods: Ten surgically proved cases of spinal epidural angiolipomas were retrospectively reviewed, and the lesion was classified according to the MR findings.

Results: Ten tumors were located in the superior (n = 4), middle (n = 2), or inferior (n = 4) thoracic level. The mass, with the spindle shape, was located in the posterior epidural space and extended parallel to the long axis of the spine. All lesions contained a fat and vascular element. The vascular content, correlating with the presence of hypointense regions on T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) and hyperintense signals on T2-weighted imaging, had marked enhancement. However, there were no flow void signs on MR images. All tumors were divided into two types based on the MR features. In type 1 (n = 3), the mass was predominantly composed of lipomatous tissue (> 50%) and contained only a few small angiomatous regions, which had a trabeculated or mottled appear. In type 2 (n = 7), the mass, however, was predominantly composed of vascular components (> 50%), which presented as large foci in the center of the mass.

Conclusion: Most spinal epidural angiolipomas exhibit hyperintensity on T1WI while the hypointense region on the noncontrast T1WI indicates to be vascular, which manifests an obvious enhancement with gadolinium administration.

Keywords: Blood vessels; Epidural neoplasms; Lipoma; Magnetic resonance imaging; Spinal canal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiolipoma / diagnosis*
  • Angiolipoma / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epidural Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Epidural Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Young Adult