Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dilated Cisterna Chyli: A Potential Mimicker of Lymphadenopathy

  ryan schwope
ryan schwope
Axial (top) and coronal (bottom) contrast-enhanced CT images
demonstrate a retrocrural fluid-filled tubular structure with imperceptible walls
 (black arrows), the classic imaging features of a cisterna chyli
    Ryan Schwope
    Coronal T2-weighted MRI shows the tubular cystic structure of the cisterna chili
    and it's continuity with the thoracic duct (white arrow)
  • The cistern chyli is a dilated lymphatic sac ommonly located in the right retrocrural region, at the level of L1-L2, extending 5-7 cm in CC dimension. It classically receives draining lymph from two lumbar trunks and an intestinal trunk, and continues cephalad as the thoracic duct
  • Can enhance on delayed MRI >5 min
  • Has an average size of 7.4 mm in the AP dimension, although some authors consider it dilated when ≥6 mm
  • Dilatation can be secondary to lymphatic damage from prior gastroesophageal or retroperitoneal surgery, uncompensated cirrhosis, hypoalbuminemialymphangioleiomyomatosis, elevated central venous pressure, and biliary obstruction
  • Size changes can vary depending on phase of respiration, hydration, and lower thoracic duct peristalsis
  • Important to know of this entity because it can mimic retrocrural lymphadenopathy in the oncologic setting
  • Mulitplanar reformations and MRI can help demontrsate the tubular cystic nature of the cistern chyli and its continuity with the thoracic duct 



Gout of the extensor mechanism of the knee

MRI of gout of the extensor tendons of the knee, with nodules in the distal quadriceps and proximal patellar tendons. Lateral conventional radiograph does not show any calcifications.
Patient with leukemia (note abnormal marrow signal) who presented with acute knee pain and pre-patellar soft tissue swelling. Imaging shows gouty tophi involving the extensor tendons of the knee, with nodules in the distal quadriceps and proximal patellar tendons (yellow arrows). Lateral conventional radiograph does not show any calcifications. Patients with cancer are pre-disposed to gout due to hyperuricemia in the setting of high cell turnover or treatment-related tumor lysis.

Tophaceous masses of gout at the knee are most commonly located on the medial aspect of the infrapatellar fat pad and anterior joint recess (~90% of cases), at the lateral femoral condyle at the attachment site of the popliteus tendon (~80%), and the intercondylar fossae (~70%). Involvement of the extensor mechanism (distal quadirceps tendon and the patellar tendon) is less common, but characteristic.

Gouty tophi present as lobulated or amorphous masses. On MRI, they are isointense on T1-WI and heterogeneously intermediate-to-hypointense on T2-WI, with variable enhancement. Well-defined erosions of the patella can be seen with large tophi. Large erosions can mimick malignancy. Calcifications, when present can help narrow the differential diagnosis; however, as in the case above, they may not always be present.

Differential considerations include:
  • Post-traumatic or reactive enthesopathy, hydroxyapatite deposition: Will have calcifications.
  • Tenosynovial giant cell tumor: Can have low signal due to hemorrhage. No calcifications.
  • Amyloid deposition: Typically low signal. Can have calcifications.
  • Sarcoma: Gouty tophi can get very aggressive and erode into the patella, mimicking a soft tissue sarcoma.