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MRI showed mild heterogeneity of the signals in the bone marrow, non specific. Meaning?

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May 2014
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I had an MRI and the first line said,
mild heterogeneity of the signals in the bone marrow, non specific.

exactly what does this mean, I sort of understand that bone marrow has water and hydrogen and the signals should be the same what is non specific mean
Posted Sat, 27 Jul 2013 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 30 minutes later
Hi XXXXX
Thanks for writing in.

This is Dr Vivek, radiologist replying to your query.
I am glad you asked this question and would try to explain it in the simplest way possible.

I assume you have gone for MRI of lower back (lumbar spine) for related pain.

MRI is an imaging of choice to study spine problems. This is a technique that is purely based on the hydrogen molecules and radio frequency signals emitted after a series of echoes.

Coming to your specific query, the bone marrow is different according to age group. In children it contains more of red (hematopoietic) marrow which help in red blood cell generation. As a person grows, the red marrow gets converted to yellow (fatty) marrow with age. This is because the fat content in the marrow increases and replaces the red marrow as we grow older.

Signal intensity is directly related to relative amounts of fat, water, and cells in the marrow. Hematopoietic (red) marrow is composed of approximately 40% fat, 40% water, and 20% protein compared with inactive fatty (yellow) marrow, which contains approximately 80% fat, 10–15% water, and 5% protein.

The fat, water and protein contents are not constant and may vary from person to person at any age. This appears as mild heterogeneity of signals which is mentioned in your report.The words non specific mean that it is not pointing towards any specific medical abnormality.

Hope your query is answered.
Further questions welcome.

Wishing you good health.

Regards
Dr Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: MRI showed mild heterogeneity of the signals in the bone marrow, non specific. Meaning? 8 hours later
Thank you,

Yes you answered that perfect and if I understand you correctly that I should not worry. Will they need me to re-check this or will they not even discuss it with me?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 40 minutes later
Hi XXXXX
Welcome and thanks for writing in again.

If you had really had any problems, this point will be highlighted as impression in your report (Please re check this).

My only other concern would be any weakness in the bones of your spine at your age, which can be better assessed clinically by your orthopaedic surgeon. But again, for this to hold good they would have mentioned this as a specific cause in your report.

I think they would have discussed it with you if it was an important finding. If you still have the slightest worry, please attach your report and I will be in a position to explain things all over again.

Hope your query is answered.
Further questions welcome.

If you don’t have any further questions, I request you to please close this thread.
Wishing you good health.

Regards
Dr Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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