Cervical radiculopathy: prospective evaluation with surface coil MR imaging, CT with metrizamide, and metrizamide myelography

Radiology. 1986 Dec;161(3):753-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.161.3.3786728.


A prospective study was undertaken to compare the accuracy of surface coil magnetic resonance (SCMR) imaging, metrizamide myelography (MM), and computed tomography with metrizamide (CTM) in the determination of cervical radiculopathy. Surgical findings were the objective measure of accuracy. Fifty-two patients underwent all imaging studies. Studies were evaluated for disease location and type (bone vs. soft tissue). Twenty-eight patients underwent subsequent cervical surgery at 39 levels form an anterior interbody approach. Predictions made with SCMR imaging were surgically confirmed in 74% of patients, with CTM in 85%, and with MM in 67%. There was 90% agreement with surgical findings when SCMR imaging and CTM were used jointly, and 92% agreement when CTM and MM were used jointly, In general, SCMR imaging was as sensitive as CTM for identification of disease level, but not as specific for type of disease. MM was the modality least specific for disease type. The major advantage of CTM was its ability to distinguish bone from soft tissue, for which contrast material is unnecessary. SCMR imaging is a viable alternative to MM and, together with computed tomography, if needed, provides a thorough examination of the cervical region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Metrizamide
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Nerve Roots*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Metrizamide