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HomeAnswersRadiologyrib fractureMy MRI shows enhancement on a rib. What is the cause?

Do you feel that the enhancement of a rib on MRI is due to metastasis?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Vivek Chail

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At February 13, 2017
Reviewed AtDecember 21, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi,

I had a routine MRI for the history of treated breast cancer, and that showed enhancement on a rib. What would cause this? I had rib pain following a bad cough and cold.

Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Yes, it is possible that you might have mild fractures of ribs due to excessive coughing.
  • Can you please upload the images. I will look at the pictures and then give a detailed opinion.

Revert with the images to a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I have attached the images.

Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • I saw through the scans (attachment removed to protect patient identity), and if the pain is exactly at that location and started right after a cough, then there is a likelihood of minor fracture or bone swelling due to a minimal stress fracture of the ribs.
  • There is a rare possibility that the area is a focus of metastasis and developed a pathological stress with mild coughing.
  • Keeping in mind your past medical history, it is essential that metastasis is ruled out and that is mentioned in your report. The fact is that this MRI finding cannot just be ignored if there is a personal history of breast cancer.

For further information consult a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I am having a bone scan tomorrow. Does anything give you the feeling that it is metastasis or just something from the cough? It was described as a linear enhancement. Does that mean anything serious?

Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • Judging by the area of involvement, it is a small part of the ribs and the linear pattern. The possibility of a cough associated stress fracture is higher than a metastasis.
  • But, nothing can be taken for granted unless completely investigated and probably the bone scan will give more comprehensive information.
  • I feel the chance of a fracture due to coughing is more likely.

For further information consult a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Vivek Chail
Dr. Vivek Chail

General Practitioner

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