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Incidental findings on MRI scans of patients presenting with audiovestibular symptoms

Author(s): Papanikolaou Vasileios | Khan Mohammad | Keogh Ivan

Journal: BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders
ISSN 1472-6815

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background The evaluation of patients presenting with audiovestibular symptoms usually includes MRI of the internal auditory meatus, the cerebellopontine angle and the brain. A significant percentage of these scans will present unexpected, incidental findings, which could have important clinical significance. Objective To determine the frequency and clinical significance of incidental findings on MRI scans of patients with audiovestibular symptoms. Materials and methods A retrospective analysis of 200 serial MRI scans. Results Gender distribution: equal. Age range: 17-82 years. One-hundred and four scans (52%) were normal and 1 scan (0.5%) demonstrated a unilateral vestibular schwannoma. Ninety-five scans (47.5%) demonstrated incidental findings. Sixty-six of these (33%) were considered of ishaemic origin and did not require further action. Five (2.5%) scans demonstrated significant findings which warranted appropriate referral; Two Gliomas (1%), 2 cases of extensive White Matter Lesions (1%), 1 lipoma (0.5%). The remaining scans demonstrated various other findings. Conclusion Investigation of patients with audiovestibular symptoms with MRI scans revealed incidental findings in a significant percentage (47.5%). The majority of these findings were benign warranting no further action and only 2.5% required further referral. It is the responsibility of the referring Otolaryngologist to be aware of these findings, to be able to assess their significance, to inform the patient and if needed to refer for further evaluation.