Gelatinous marrow transformation

Gelatinous marrow transformation, also known as serous atrophy of bone marrow, refers to a marrow disorder that occurs with chronic illness and poor nutritional status. It is characterized by atrophy of the fatty marrow and loss of hematopoietic cells, replaced by extracellular gelatinous substances.

It is important to be aware of this condition so as not to subject the patient to a repeat MRI out of concern that the study is technically faulty.


This may be seen with:

Radiographic features


Fluid intensity regions in the marrow that are initially patchy but become confluent. These progress in the same order as red to yellow marrow conversion: distal extremities to proximal extremities and axial skeleton. Similar signal abnormalities can usually be observed in the adjacent subcutaneous fat 6.

  • T1: mildly low signal intensity
  • fat-suppressed fluid-sensitive sequences (e.g. T2 fat-sat, STIR, SPAIR): high signal intensity

NB: gelatinous marrow transformation is often associated with insufficiency fractures, which may be obscured on MRI by the abnormal bone marrow signal.


CT can be used as a problem-solving tool in case of a clinical suspicion of an insufficiency fracture that cannot be visualized properly on MRI.

Share article

Article information

rID: 1377
Tag: aids, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Serous atrophy of bone marrow
  • Serous bone marrow atrophy
  • Gelatinous transformation of bone marrow
  • Gelatinous bone marrow transformation

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: with anorexia nervosa
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.