Normal Enhancement within the Vestibular Aqueduct: An Anatomic Review with High-Resolution MRI

Grace Liu, J. C. Benson, C. M. Carr, J. I. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The normal appearance of the vestibular aqueduct on postcontrast MR images has not been adequately described in the literature. This study set out to characterize the expected appearance of the vestibular aqueduct, with particular emphasis on the enhancement of the structure on both 3D FSE T1 and 3D-FLAIR sequences. MATERIALS AND METHODS: All MR imaging examinations of the internal auditory canals performed between March 1, 2021, and May 20, 2021, were retrospectively reviewed. All studies included high-resolution (#0.5-mm section thickness) pre- and postgadolinium 3D FSE T1 with fat-saturated and postgadolinium 3D-FLAIR sequences. Two neuroradiologists independently reviewed the MR images of the vestibular aqueduct for the presence or absence of enhancement on both T1 and FLAIR images and compared the relative intensity of enhancement between sequences. The presence or absence of an enlarged vestibular aqueduct was also noted. RESULTS: Ninety-five patients made up the patient cohort, of whom 5 did not have postcontrast FLAIR images available (50 women [55.6%]). On both sides, enhancement was significantly more commonly seen on postgadolinium FLAIR (76/180, 42.2%) than on T1 fat-saturated images (41/190, 21.6%) (P, .001). The intensity of enhancement was significantly greater on postgadolinium FLAIR images than on T1 fat-saturated images (38.9% versus 3.7%, respectively; P, .001). CONCLUSIONS: Enhancement within the vestibular aqueduct is an expected finding on MR imaging and is both more common and more intense on postgadolinium 3D-FLAIR than on T1 fat-saturated sequences. Such enhancement should not be confused with pathology on MR imaging unless other suspicious findings are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1346-1349
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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