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How does lumbar degenerative disc disease affect the disc deformation at the cephalic levels in vivo?

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How does lumbar degenerative disc disease affect the disc deformation at the cephalic levels in vivo?

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Apr 20;36(9):E574-81

Authors: Wang S, Xia Q, Passias P, Li W, Wood K, Li G

STUDY DESIGN.: Case-control study. OBJECTIVE.: To evaluate the effect of lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) on the disc deformation at the adjacent level and at the level one above the adjacent level during end ranges of lumbar motion. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: It has been reported that in patients with DDD, the intervertebral discs adjacent to the diseased levels have a greater tendency to degenerate. Although altered biomechanics have been suggested to be the causative factors, few data have been reported on the deformation characteristics of the adjacent discs in patients with DDD. METHODS.: Ten symptomatic patients with discogenic low back pain between L4 and S1 and with healthy discs at the cephalic segments were involved. Eight healthy subjects recruited in our previous studies were used as a reference comparison. The In Vivo kinematics of L3-L4 (the cephalic adjacent level to the degenerated discs) and L2-L3 (the level one above the adjacent level) lumbar discs of both groups were obtained using a combined magnetic resonance imaging and dual fluoroscopic imaging technique at functional postures. Deformation characteristics, in terms of areas of minimal deformation (defined as less than 5%), deformations at the center of the discs, and maximum tensile and shear deformations, were compared between the two groups at the two disc levels. RESULTS.: In the patients with DDD, there were significantly smaller areas of minimal disc deformation at L3-L4 and L2-L3 than the healthy subjects (18% compared with 45% of the total disc area, on average). Both L2-L3 and L3-L4 discs underwent larger tensile and shear deformations in all postures than the healthy subjects. The maximum tensile deformations were higher by up to 23% (of the local disc height in standing) and the maximum shear deformations were higher by approximately 25% to 40% (of the local disc height in standing) compared with those of the healthy subjects. CONCLUSION.: Both the discs of the adjacent level and the level one above experienced higher tensile and shear deformations during end ranges of lumbar motion in the patients with DDD before surgical treatments when compared with the healthy subjects. The larger disc deformations at the cephalic segments were otherwise not detectable using conventional magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Future studies should investigate the effect of surgical treatments, such as fusion or disc replacement, on the biomechanics of the adjacent segments during end ranges of lumbar motion.

PMID: 21245781 [PubMed - in process]


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