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Facet joint vacuum phenomenon

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 11 May 2023

Facet joint vacuum phenomenon or degenerative intrafacetal gas is a feature that can be seen on spinal imaging in facet joint arthropathy as part of degenerative spondylosis. This is a joint-specific example of the vacuum phenomenon.

Radiographic features

MRI signal characteristics are those of gas:

  • T1: low signal

  • T2: low signal

Differential diagnosis

In traumatic cases, consider

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: at L4/5 level
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