Tract-specific volume loss on 3t mri in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Benjamin S. Hopkins, Kenneth A. Weber, Michael Brendan Cloney, Monica Paliwal, Todd B. Parrish, Zachary A. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Study Design. Case-control. Objective. The aim of this study was to understand the role of high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) in identifying regional cord volume loss in cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Summary of Background Data. Preliminary studies suggest that compression of the ventral region of the cord may contribute disproportionately to CSM symptomology; however, tract-specific data are lacking in the CSM population. The current study is the first to use 3T MR imaging (MRI) images of CSM patients to determine specific volume loss at the level of detail of individual descending white matter tracts. Methods. Twelve patients with CSM and 14 age-matched were enrolled prospectively and underwent 3-Tesla MRI of the cervical spine. Using the high-resolution images of the spinal cord, straightening and alignment with a template was performed and specific spinal cord tract volumes were measured using Spinal Cord Tool-box version 3.0.7. Modified Japanese orthopedic association (mJOA) and Nurick disability scores were collected in a prospective manner and were analyzed in relation to descending spinal tract volumes. Results. Having CSM was predicted by anterior/posterior diameter, eccentricity of the cord [odds ratio (OR) 0.000000621, P0.004], ventral reticulospinal tract volume (OR 1.167, P 0.063), lateral corticospinal tract volume (OR 1.034, P0.046), rubrospinal tract volume (OR 1.072, P0.011), and ventrolateral reticulospinal tract volume (OR 1.474, P0.005) on single variable logistic regression. Single variable linear regression showed decreases in anterior/posterior spinal cord diameter (P 0.022), ventral reticulospinal tract volumes (P0.007), and ventrolateral reticulospinal tract volumes (P0.017) to significantly predict worsening mJOA scores. Similarly, decreases in ventral reticulospinal tract volumes significantly predicted increasing Nurick scores (P0.039). Conclusion. High-resolution 3T MRI can detect tract-specific volume loss in descending spinal cord tracts in CSM patients. Anterior/posterior spinal cord diameter, ventral reticulospinal tract, ventrolateral reticulospinal tract, lateral corticospinal tract, and rubrospinal tract volume loss are associated with CSM symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1204-E1209
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • 3T MRI
  • CSM
  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy
  • Corticospinal tract
  • Myelopathy
  • Reticulospinal tract
  • Rubrospinal tract
  • Spinal cord distortion
  • Spinal cord toolbox
  • Spinal cord volume loss
  • White matter tract volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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