Relative Conspicuity of Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents in Interventional Pain Procedures

Timothy P. Maus, Beth A. Schueler, Dixon J. Magnuson, Dayne Magnuson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the relative radiographic conspicuity of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) that may be used in spinal injection procedures when iodine-based contrast agents are contraindicated.

Methods: Eight GBCAs and three iodinated agents of varying iodine concentrations were radiographed under conditions representative of lumbar spinal injections at four kilovoltage peak (kVp) values. Radiographic contrast of each agent was measured as the percent pixel value difference with respect to background.

Results: Gadobutrol (Gadovist, 1 mM/mL) had the highest radiographic contrast among the gadolinium agents tested. Measured radiographic contrast correlated with the molar concentration of gadolinium. Gadobutrol radiographic contrast lies between the contrast of iohexol concentrations of 240 and 140 mgI/mL. All agents have decreasing contrast as kVp increases, but GBCAs decrease less than iodine-based agents.

Conclusions: Gadobutrol is the GBCA with the greatest conspicuity for use in spinal injection procedures. It also has the highest molar concentration of gadolinium, and potential neural toxicity from intrathecal delivery must be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-654
Number of pages4
JournalPain medicine (Malden, Mass.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Contrast media
  • contrast allergy
  • epidural
  • gadolinium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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