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Sixty-six patients with spinal metastatic disease secondary to urological malignancy underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Twenty-eight patients had clinical evidence of spinal cord compression. MRI demonstrated metastatic cord compression in 16 cases, a benign cause in two cases, nerve root involvement in five cases. In seven patients MRI demonstrated spinal metastases which were not visible on plain radiographs and isotope bone scans. Nine patients had metastatic deposits involving the cauda equina and in a further 22 patients spinal metastases were an incidental finding during MRI for staging of the primary tumour. MRI is a sensitive method of imaging spinal metastases and provides a non-invasive means of assessing patients with spinal cord compression.