What are the advantages of MRI in thoracic non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) imaging?

Updated: Mar 05, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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The lack of ionizing radiation and its multiplanar capability make MRI an excellent modality in the initial diagnosis of a mediastinal mass and in its follow-up after treatment. The vascular images provided are superior to CT scans and can better delineate the relationship of an identified mediastinal mass to adjacent intrathoracic vascular structures. MRI can be used to differentiate a suspected mediastinal mass and a vascular abnormality, such as an aortic aneurysm.

MRI contrast agents can be used when iodinated contrast is contraindicated. It provides increased detail in the subcarinal and aortopulmonary window areas, as well as in the inferior aspects of the mediastinum at the level of the diaphragm. MRI is preferred to CT scanning in the evaluation of invasion or extension of tumors, especially tumors closely associated with the heart. MRI is also superior to CT scanning for defining masses impinging on the thoracic inlet or at the thoraco-abdominal level. MRI better depicts recurrences in the chest wall in HD and NHL.

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