The role of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

John Paul Kolcun, Lee Onn Chieng, Karthik Madhavan, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Dynamic spinal cord compression has been investigated for several years, but until the advent of open MRI, the use of dynamic MRI (dMRI) did not gain popularity. Several publications have shown that cervical cord compression is both static and dynamic. On many occasions the evaluation of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is straightforward, but patients are frequently encountered with a significantly worse clinical examination than would be suggested by radiological images. In this paper, we present an extensive review of the literature in order to describe the importance of dMRI in various settings and applications. A detailed literature review was performed in the Medline and Pubmed databases using the terms "cervical spondylotic myelopathy", "dynamic MRI", "kinetic MRI", and "myelomalalcia" for the period of 1980-2016. The study was limited to English language, human subjects, case series, retrospective studies, prospective reports, and clinical trials. Reviews, case reports, cadaveric studies, editorials, and commentaries were excluded. The literature search yielded 180 papers, 19 of which met inclusion criteria. However, each paper had evaluated results and outcomes in different ways. It was not possible to compile them for meta-analysis or pooled data evaluation. Instead, we evaluated individual studies and present them for discussion. We describe a number of parameters evaluated in 2661 total patients, including dynamic changes to spinal cord and canal dimensions, transient compression of the cord with changes in position, and the effects of position on the intervertebral disc. dMRI is a useful tool for understanding the development of CSM. It has found several applications in the diagnosis and preoperative evaluation of many patients, as well as certain congenital dysplasias and Hirayama disease. It is useful in correlating symptoms with the dynamic changes only noted on dMRI, and has reduced the incidence of misdiagnosis of myelopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1015
Number of pages8
JournalAsian Spine Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Cervical spondylotic myleopathy
  • Dynamic imaging
  • Magnetic resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging in cervical spondylotic myelopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this