Posterior lumbar subcutaneous oedema

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Ayush Goel et al.

Posterior lumbar subcutaneous oedema is a very frequent finding on MRI of the spine. Clinical correlation is almost always required to identify the significance of this.


Due to its distribution, it is sometimes referred to colloquially as "tramp-stamp oedema". 


It is more common in elderly and female patients. 


  • overweight/obesity (raised BMI)
  • posterior compartment degenerative changes (facet joint arthropathy)
  • infectious process
  • neoplastic causes

Radiographic features


It is the same appearance as that of oedema elsewhere in the body.

  • T2 and STIR: hyperintense signal
  • T1: hypointense signal
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Article information

rID: 23476
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Posterior lumbar subcutaneous edema
  • Posterior lumbar subcutaneous tissue edema
  • Posterior lumbar subcutaneous tissue oedema
  • Posterior lumbar subcutaneous tissue anasarca

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