Incidental findings on magnetic resonance imaging of lumbosacral spine in patients with back pain and/orradiculopathy


  • Araz Rafiq Abdullah Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.
  • Hayam Yousif Odish Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.
  • Haveen Azo Mohamedamin Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.



Incidental finding, Extraspinal, Intraspinal, Magnetic resonance imaging


Background and objective: An incidental lesion is an asymptomatic lesion found while examining a patient for an unrelated reason. Lumbar spine imaging may reveal either clinically insignificant spine incidental abnormalities and/or extra-spinal Incidental finding that, at times, may even explain the patient’s symptoms. This study aimed to evaluate the frequency and types of incidental findings in lumbosacral magnetic resonance examination and to find the correlation between the frequency distribution of findings in terms of age and sex.

Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 1250 persons who were referred for lumbosacral spine magnetic resonance imaging because of low back pain and/or radiculopathy. The magnetic resonance images were viewed to evaluate the frequency of incidental findings which were divided into extra and intraspinal findings.

Results: Incidental findings were noted in 332 (26.6%) patients of the 1250 comprising 94 (28.3%) males and 238(71.7%) females. Some of them had more than one incidental finding. Cortical and para pelvic renal cysts were the most common extra spinal incidental findings, while vertebral hemangioma was the most common intraspinal incidental finding.

Conclusion: Incidental findings were common in magnetic resonance imaging examination of the lumbar spine, and most were clinically insignificant; however some of these findings may be more significant than the spinal problems being evaluated and can have a significant impact on patient management. Therefore, they should be included in the reports since they will give additional and valuable information.


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How to Cite

Abdullah, A. R., Odish, H. Y., & Mohamedamin, H. A. (2018). Incidental findings on magnetic resonance imaging of lumbosacral spine in patients with back pain and/orradiculopathy. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 22(3), 300–306.



Original Articles