Thalassemia: spine MRI

Discussion:

Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive microcytic anemia that originated in the Mediterranean region. The genetic defect causes a reduction in the rate of globin chain synthesis which causes the formation of abnormal hemoglobin molecules.

The skeletal aspects of the disease are due to bone marrow proliferation consisting of expansion of the medulla, thinning of cortical bone, and resorption of cancellous bone resulting in a generalized loss of bone density.

This is often an incidental finding in on imaging before for other purposes.

The intensely low signal appearances on T1 and T2 is well illustrated in this otherwise normal study.

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