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Large rectangle lump in MRI for cervical, thoracic pain.

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Hello -

I had an MRI on my cervical & thoracic spine. I have been having pain in the lower cervical area and pain in the upper thoracic area. Attached are a series of 2 photos (1 from an MRI last year, the other from the MRI today).

On the MRI from today (image on the right), I noticed something large sticking out on the right side of the image - around C5-T3 area. It looks like a rectangle, near the surface, and I have drawn a red arrow next to it for reference. I do not see this on the previous MRIs and am wondering if I should be concerned about this and/or what it is, since the doctors office is closed for the weekend.

The rectangle area shows up on all of the MRI images from today.

In 2012 I had acdf surgery and have a plate and screws around c5-c6, however, my MRI from last year did not show this large rectangle bump.

I realize it's only one view, but is there anything else that would be of urgent concern, regarding the MRI in general?

Any information you could give would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Category: Spine Surgeon

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Category: Spine Surgeon
 31 Doctors Online

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your query at
The rectangular area highlighted by you in the present MRI is the signal of fat just below the skin in the subcutaneous region. As I can see in comparison with the previous MRI, it is a recent development. There is nothing alarming or abnormal in this. That deposition of fat in the back of the neck is seen in many people and is neither related to the cervical surgery nor will it pose any problem in future.

With regards,

Patient replied :

Hi - thank you so much for getting back to me, I really appreciate it.
Do you happen to know of any reason why they would suddenly form in the past year? I have not gained any weight or anything (I'm 5'3" and 133 lbs). I am just curious, as there is no lump visible and no lump that can be felt either. I did recently have a fall off my bicycle (which was the reason for the recent MRI). Would that be something that could produce the fat, or no? I am just suprised that it suddenly formed. Is that common?
Also, from looking at the MRI on the right (the one with the fat lump), are there any other areas with the discs or spine that look to be of concern? I did have the c5-c6 fusion, but am wondering if the other cervical and thorasic levels and spinal cord look to be ok?
Thank you again for your help, and for getting back to me so quickly, I appreciate it! I look forward to hearing from you soon.
* attached is another view from the recent MRI.

Fat deposition in that region is not of any concern. Same way I don't see any reason why one should develop this. It can just happen to anyone. And the rest of your spine is perfectly OK, except for the evidence of previous surgery at C5-6.
One small doubt which I am having is that (as you have mentioned that there is no palpable lump in that area)..... Sometimes this can be an artefact on the MRI. It means due to some variations either in machine or patient, there will be some changesin the MRI. This can only be picked up by the radiologist who has done the scan. Is there anything mentioned in the MRI report about the same. If not you can kindly review with your radiologist to clarify whether it is an artefact or not.

Patient replied :

Hi - Thank you so much - I really appreciate it, and thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly.
I just had one other quick question. I recently had an abdominal CT scan. Do you happen to know if an abdominal CT scan would show discs in the lumbar region? Does abdominal CT scan have ability to show these?
Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Hello, CT scan can show the anatomy of a vertebral body. The disc demarcation will not be well made out.

Dr. Goutham Cugati
Category: Spine Surgeon
Residency: Neurosurgery, the Post-Graduate Institute of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Achanta Lakshmipathi Neuro surgical Center, VHS Hospital, Chennai, 2011

Postgraduate in Neurosugery: DNB, National Board of Examinations,
Part 1 - 2008, Part 2 -  2010

Medical School: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, JSS Medical College, 2004
Dr. Goutham Cugati and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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