TITLE: Gadolinium-DTPA-enhanced MR imaging of the postoperative lumbar spine: time course and mechanism of enhancement.
AUTHORS: Ross JS; Delamarter R; Hueftle MG; Masaryk TJ Aikawa M; Carter J; VanDyke C; Modic MT
ABSTRACT: To define the time course and mechanism of enhancement of epidural fibrosis after gadolinium-DTPA (Gd-DTPA) injection, we undertook a three-part study in humans and dogs with epidural scar after spine surgery. First, the dynamic in vivo contrast-enhancing properties of epidural scar were assessed by using sequential fast (18-sec) spin-echo sequences after contrast injection. Epidural scar in dogs rapidly enhanced; peak enhancement (101%) was 6 min after injection, with a slower decline toward baseline to 45% after 44 min. Epidural fibrosis in patients followed a similar pattern, with a maximum enhancement of 73% after 5 min. Paraspinal muscle had a lower peak enhancement in both patients (36%) and dogs (22%). Second, vascular injection in two dogs with India ink demonstrated multiple small vessels throughout the epidural scar. Third, light and electron microscopy was performed on epidural scar obtained at reoperation in both patients and dogs. Light microscopy showed multiple small capillaries scattered throughout a background of collagen. Electron microscopy demonstrated a wide variation in the junctions between endothelial cells ranging from "tight" to "loose." Regions of endothelial discontinuity were also visualized. This study suggests that Gd-DTPA diffuses rapidly into the extravascular space in epidural scar, with a slower, net movement toward the intravascular compartment as the agent is renally filtered. The contrast agent transgresses the endothelium through "leaky" intercellular junctions and areas of endothelial discontinuity.
SOURCE: AJR Am J Roentgenol 1989 Apr;152(4):825-34