Modic Changes

Michael Modic, MD, first wrote about variations in signal strength on in MR imaging of the marrow of vertebral bodies, while he was a professor of radiology and neurology at Case Western. Hence, we have the name Modic changes today to describe the phenomenon.

When Modic changes appear in the vertebral bodies near the endplates of the disc (despite their name, vertebral endplates are part of the disc, not the vertebral body), it confirms the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease (DDD).

(Often bone spurs are also seen in the Ring Apophysis adjacent to these endplates in cases of DDD.) There are three types of Modic changes and to properly classify them, one must see the T1 and T2 MRIs. These classifications have been confirmed by histological investigations and represent different types of changes to the vertebral body.