Purpose: To determine the potential and limitations of MR angiography in the evaluation of spinal vascular malformations.
Methods: Eleven consecutive patients with spinal vascular malformations proved with spinal selective arteriography underwent two-dimensional phase-contrast MR angiography.
Results: Abnormal vessels within the spinal canal were identified with MR angiography in 10 patients. In 1 patient with a dural arteriovenous fistula no definite vascular abnormality was seen with MR angiography. Correlation of MR angiography with spinal selective arteriography showed that the former allowed identification of the arterial feeder in 3 patients with intramedullary arteriovenous malformations and 2 with perimedullary arteriovenous fistula, whereas the source of intradural draining vein was seen in only 2 of 6 patients with dural arteriovenous fistula.
Conclusion: MR angiography is a promising complementary tool to MR imaging for detection and characterization of spinal vascular malformations.