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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Mickey Mouse Sign in Medicine: Part 1

Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney in 1928. His impact has been felt all over the world, including the field of medicine. If you have children, your pediatrician’s office likely has pictures of Mickey to make it more comforting. For the same reason, pediatric nurses often wear Mickey on their clothes, children are sometimes given Mickey Mouse stickers, and Mickey Mouse cartoons may be playing in the waiting room. But beyond the obvious use of Mickey Mouse in pediatric medicine, Mickey Mouse has managed to show up in various images of the body, all of which are referred to as Mickey Mouse signs. In the next four blog entries (excepting the MedFriendly Blog contest over the weekend), I will provide four examples of the Mickey Mouse sign in medicine.

Case 1 involves a 55-year-old woman with breast cancer who underwent a bone scan to determine if the cancer had spread to the bones. In the picture of the spinal area below, the Mickey Mouse sign is the black area seen in the 2nd lumbar vertebrae (lower back). The black pattern of three dots shows areas in which the injected radiotracer was absorbed by the bone. The finding was consistent with Paget’s disease, which is a form of chronic bone inflammation and rapid bone destruction that distorts the bone structure. As a result, unusual patterns can present on bone scan images, including the Mickey Mouse sign. Come back tomorrow to see another Mickey Mouse sign. The image below was featured in this free article and is copyrighted by the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Be sure to see part two, part three, and part four of the Mickey Mouse sign.


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