Comparison of facet joint activity on 99m TC-MDP SPECT/CT with facet joint signal change on MRI with fat suppression

Vance T. Lehman, Robert C. Murphy, Louis A. Schenck, Rickey E. Carter, Geoffrey B. Johnson, Amy L. Kotsenas, Jonathan M. Morris, Mark A. Nathan, John T. Wald, Timothy P. Maus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE We compared signal change on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with fat suppression and bone scan activity of lumbar facet joints to determine if these two imaging findings are correlated. METHODS We retrospectively identified all patients who underwent imaging of the lumbar spine for pain evaluation using both technetium-99m methylene disphosphonate single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography ( 99 mTc-MDP SPECT/CT) and MRI with at least one fat-suppressed T2-or T1-weighted sequence with gadolinium enhancement within a 180-day interval, at our institution between 1 January 2008 and 19 February 2013. Facet joint activity on 99 mTc-MDP SPECT/CT and perifacet signal change on MRI were rated as normal or increased. Agreement between the two examination types were determined with the κ and prevalence-adjusted bias-adjusted κ (PABAK) statistics. RESULTS This study included 60 patients (28 male, 47%), with a mean age of 49±19.7 years (range, 12-93 years). The κ value indicated no agreement between 99 mTc-MDP SPECT/CT and MRI (κ=-0.026; 95% confidence interval: -0.051, 0.000). The PABAK values were fair to high at each spinal level, which suggests that relatively low disease prevalence lowered the κ values. Together, the κ and PABAK values indicate that there is some degree of intermodality agreement, but that it is not consistent. CONCLUSION Overall, facet joint signal change on fat-suppressed MRI did not always correlate with increased 99 mTc-MDP SPECT/CT activity. MRI and 99 mTc-MDP SPECT/CT for facet joint evaluation should not be considered interchangeable examinations in clinical practice or research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalDiagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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