Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging

: 2004  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 169--171

Images : Aneurysmal bone cyst of cervico-dorsal spine

A Sharma, SG Iyer, S Baweja 
 Dept. of Radiology and Imaging, G.B. Pant Hospital and Mam College, New Delhi-2, (Delhi University), India

Correspondence Address:
A Sharma
C-10 Kendriya Vihar, Sector 51, Noida

How to cite this article:
Sharma A, Iyer S G, Baweja S. Images : Aneurysmal bone cyst of cervico-dorsal spine.Indian J Radiol Imaging 2004;14:169-171

How to cite this URL:
Sharma A, Iyer S G, Baweja S. Images : Aneurysmal bone cyst of cervico-dorsal spine. Indian J Radiol Imaging [serial online] 2004 [cited 2020 Jan 20 ];14:169-171
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Full Text


Aneurysmal bone cysts(ABC) of the spine are seen most commonly in thoracic region followed by the lumbar and cervical spine. Symptoms, including pain and neurological deficits are usually associated with mass effect on the spinal cord. Radiographs, CT and MRI demonstrate the expansile lesion centered in the posterior elements that commonly extends into the vertebral bodies.

The ABC lesion is usually lytic as well as expansile, with eggshell like peripheral calcification. ABCs can cross disc spaces and into adjacent structures. Both CT and MRI can evaluate fluid filled levels. MRI is, however, better at showing the extent of the mass and its effect on the spinal cord and nerve roots. A soft tissue rim is often seen on CT. It appears as a rim of decreased signal intensity in all MRI sequences.


In the spine, involvement of the thoracic, lumbar, cervical or sacral level, in order of decreasing frequency, is seen [1]. Vertebral aneurysmal bone cysts generally arise in the posterior osseous elements, including the neural arches, laminae, and transverse and spinous processes; the vertebral bodies are affected less frequently, and rarely does this occur in isolation without posterior osseous abnormalities. Aneurysmal bone cysts may extend from one vertebra to another, to an adjacent rib, or to the paraspinal soft tissues, simulating the appearance of infection or a malignant tumor [2],[3],[4].

MR is valuable in defining the full extent of the lesion, especially in the spine. An expansile and lobulated or septated lesion is typical. The internal septations create cystic cavities whose walls contain diverticulum like projections [5]. A thin, well-defined rim of low signal intensity about an aneurysmal bone cyst is common [6]. The signal intensity characteristics within this rim are variable. Fluid levels also may be identified. Although such levels are not diagnostic of an aneurysmal bone cyst as they are also seen in giant cell tumors, simple bone cysts, chondroblastomas, and telangiectatic osteosarcomas. Fluid levels are however, most compatible with the diagnosis of aneurysmal bone cyst.


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