Normal and abnormal thymus in childhood: MR imaging

M. J. Siegel, H. S. Glazer, J. I. Wiener, P. L. Molina

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51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies of 47 children without thymic disease were compared with those of 14 children with proved thymic abnormalities (eg, lymphoma, leukemia, hyperplasia) to evaluate the spectrum of MR features of the normal and abnormal thymus and to determine the best indicators of thymic disease. In healthy children younger than 5 years of age, the thymus had a quadrilateral shape and biconvex lateral contours. Older children and adolescents had a triangular thymus with straight lateral margins. The thymus appeared homogeneous with a signal intensity slightly greater than that of muscle on T1-weighted images and close to that of fat on T2-weighted images. Qualitative evaluation of gross thymic morphology (size, shape, margins, and signal intensity) usually was sufficient for distinguishing between the normal and abnormal thymus. The abnormal thymus generally was enlarged, multilobular, or inhomogeneous because of the presence of cystic degeneration, hemorrhage, septations, fibrosis, or calcification on pathologic sections. In patients with lymphoma, the presence of associated lymphadenopathy also was helpful in distinguishing the normal from the abnormal thymus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-371
Number of pages5
JournalRadiology
Volume172
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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