ISSN: 1899-0967
Polish Journal of Radiology
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vol. 87
Head and neck radiology
Original paper

Hirayama disease: neutral and flexion magnetic resonance imaging and utility of inter-segmental angle of flexion

Ravinder Kaur
Ashish Dua
Vipin Gupta
Raveena Bedi
Nishit Sawal
Anmol Singh

Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
© Pol J Radiol 2022; 87: e584-e591
Online publish date: 2022/10/28
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Hirayama disease (HD) is a rare disease that was commonly mis-diagnosed in the past. The importance of neutral and flexion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in its accurate diagnosis has been emphasized along with utility of the inter-segmental angle of flexion. Aim of the study was to observe MRI findings of HD in neutral and flexion position and measure the inter-segmental angle of flexion.

Material and methods
Cervical MR images of 17 patients of suspected HD were evaluated retrospectively for loss of attachment (LOA) of posterior dura, lower cervical cord atrophy, T2 hyperintensity, loss of cervical lordosis, enhancement of posterior epidural venous plexus, and inter-segmental angle of flexion on neutral and flexion MRIs.

Flexion MRI showed LOA of posterior dura (most commonly and maximum at C6 vertebral level) and intense enhancement in posterior epidural space in almost all patients. The mean inter-segmental angle of flexion at C5-C6 was 9.2°, and at C6-C7 it was 6°. Neutral MRI revealed LOA in 64.7%, lower cervical cord atrophy in all patients, T2 hyperintensity in the lower cervical cord in 35.2% of patients, and loss of cervical lordosis in 58.8% of patients.

Flexion MRI is the gold standard for diagnosis of HD; however, certain imaging attributes, i.e. loss of attachment of posterior dura, asymmetrical lower cervical cord atrophy, T2 hyperintensity, and loss of cervical lordosis, can be seen on neutral MRI as well, which subsequently prompts the radiologist to include flexion MRI for confirmation. The inter-segmental angle of flexion is increased in patients with HD, which plays a role in planning timely surgical intervention.


Hirayama disease, flexion MRI, neutral MRI, inter-segmental angle of flexion, loss of attachment

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