Modic type endplate changes

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 24 Feb 2024

Modic type endplate changes represent a classification for vertebral body endplate MRI signal changes, 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 1 has received renewed attention due to the possibility of it representing low-grade indolent infection. It is thus discussed separately here.

  • Modic type 1: represents bone marrow edema and inflammation

    • T1: low signal

    • T2: high signal

    • T1 C+ (Gd): enhancement

  • Modic type 2: represents normal red haemopoietic bone marrow conversion into yellow fatty marrow as a result of marrow ischemia

    • T1: high signal

    • T2: iso to high signal

  • Modic type 3: represents subchondral bony sclerosis

    • T1: low signal

    • T2: low signal

History and etymology

Michael T Modic (fl. 2024) 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.

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