Modic type endplate changes

Last revised by Dr Joshua Yap on 28 Sep 2022

Modic type endplate changes represent a classification for vertebral body endplate MRI signal, first described in 1988 1. It is widely recognized by radiologists and clinicians and is a useful shorthand for reporting MRIs of the spine.

Recently Modic type I has received renewed attention due to the possibility of it representing low-grade indolent infection. It is thus discussed separately here.

  • Modic type I
    • T1: low signal
    • T2: high signal
    • represents bone marrow edema and inflammation
    • T1 C+ (Gd): enhancement
  • Modic type II
    • T1: high signal
    • T2: iso to high signal
    • represents normal red haemopoietic bone marrow conversion into yellow fatty marrow as a result of marrow ischemia
  • Modic type III
    • T1: low signal
    • T2: low signal
    • represents subchondral bony sclerosis

History and etymology

Michael T Modic (fl. 2018) is an American neuroradiologist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in the US, although almost the whole of his career prior to 2018 was spent at the Cleveland Clinic 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Case 1: Modic type II changes
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