REVIEW – September 2014

Modic changes in spine

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Abstract

Modic changes (MC) are bone marrow and endplate lesions visible on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in spinal degenerative diseases and strongly linked with low back pain.

MC type I represents a hypointense signal in T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) and a hyperintense signal in T2-weighted imaging (T2WI), corresponding to vertebral body oedema and hyper-vascularity, MC type II represents a hyperintense signal in both T1WI and T2WI, reflecting fatty replacements of the red bone marrow, and MC type III represents a hypointense signal in T1WI and T2WI, consisting of subchondral bone sclerosis.

How the present knowledge of MC affects the management of spinal degenerative diseases remains unclear. Further studies of MC will explore therapeutic possibilities for future treatments of spinal degenerative diseases.