OBJECTIVE. This study evaluated the anatomic significance and sites of aortic bifurcation, right renal artery, and conus medullaris when locating lumbar vertebral segments on MRI. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. The study group was composed of 210 patients who underwent MRI of the lumbosacral spine. The position of aortic bifurcation was evaluated using MRI. Midline and sagittal MRI were also assessed to identify the proximal portion of the right renal artery and the tip of the conus medullaris. These locations were recorded in relation to the upper or lower half of the adjacent vertebral body or the adjacent intervertebral disk space. RESULTS. The most common site of aortic bifurcation was at the L4 vertebra (83%). In most patients two separated iliac arteries were apparent at the level of the L4-L5 disk space (93%), and the right renal artery was located between the lower half of the L1 vertebra and the upper half of the L2 vertebra (92%). The position of the conus medullaris was variably located, and the most frequent site was at the L1 vertebra (56%). CONCLUSION. The aortic bifurcation, the right renal artery, and the combination of these structures can be reliable landmarks for determining the lumbar vertebral segments on MRI or CT. However, conus medullaris cannot be considered a good landmark because of its variable locations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging