J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Jan;35(3):e22. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e22.

MR Findings of Fungus Ball: Significance of High Signal Intensity on T1-Weighted Images

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System Gangnam Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Radiology, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. isryoo@gmail.com
  • 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Central dark-signal intensity with high-signal, hypertrophic mucosal wall of paranasal sinuses on T2-weighted images (T2WI) is a characteristic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) feature of sinonasal fungus ball. However, this finding is usually interpreted as non-fungal chronic sinusitis with central normal sinus air. In addition, T1-weighted images (T1WI) and T2WI are basic sequences of all magnetic resonance (MR) examinations. Therefore, we evaluated the usefulness of T1WI for detecting fungus balls comparing with computed tomography (CT) findings and T2-weighted MRI findings.
This retrospective study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Korea University Guro Hospital. Two reviewers assessed preoperative CT and MR images of 55 patients with pathologically confirmed fungus balls. Reviewers evaluated the presence and patterns of calcifications on CT. Overall signals and the presence and extent of certain signals of fungus balls on MRI were also assessed. The relationship between calcifications and MRI signals was also evaluated.
Of the patients, 89.1% had calcifications on CT. All had dark signal portions with high signal, hypertrophic mucosal walls on T2WI. Most (92.7%) patients showed iso- to hyper-intense overall signals on T1WI and 89.1% had T1-weighted high signal portions on MRI. The presence, patterns, and location of calcifications had no significant correlation with T1-weighted high-signal intensity portion.
Fungus ball can be suggested by the presence of the hyper-signal intensity portions in the fungal mass on T1WI in conjunction with dark-signal lesions surrounded by high-signal, hypertrophic mucosal walls in paranasal sinuses on T2WI.


Aspergillosis; Fungus Ball; Mycetoma; Sinusitis
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