Disc Degeneration of Young Low Back Pain Patients A Prospective 30-year Follow-up MRI Study

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Sääksjärvi , S , Kerttula , L , Luoma , K , Paajanen , H & Waris , E 2020 , ' Disc Degeneration of Young Low Back Pain Patients A Prospective 30-year Follow-up MRI Study ' , Spine , vol. 45 , no. 19 , pp. 1341-1347 . https://doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003548

Title: Disc Degeneration of Young Low Back Pain Patients A Prospective 30-year Follow-up MRI Study
Author: Sääksjärvi, Simo; Kerttula, Liisa; Luoma, Katariina; Paajanen, Hannu; Waris, Eero
Contributor organization: Faculty of Medicine
University of Helsinki
Helsinki University Hospital Area
I kirurgian klinikka (Töölö)
Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics
HUS Medical Imaging Center
HUS Musculoskeletal and Plastic Surgery
Date: 2020-10-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: Spine
ISSN: 0362-2436
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000003548
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/340567
Abstract: Study Design. A prospective follow-up study. Objective. The aim of this study was to investigate whether early lumbar disc degeneration (DD) in young low back pain (LBP) patients predicts progression of degenerative changes, pain, or disability in a 30-year follow-up. Summary of Background Data. MRI is an accurate method for studying degenerative changes in intervertebral discs. Decreased signal intensity (SI) can be used as indication of decreased water content. Long-term prognosis of early DD remains unclear. Methods. In an earlier study, 75 conscripts aged 20 years with LBP had their lumbar spine examined by MRI. At a follow-up of 30 years, the subjects were contacted; 35 of 69 filled a pain and disability questionnaire, and 26 of 35 were also reexamined clinically and by MRI. The images were evaluated for decreased SI and other degenerative changes. Association between decreased SI of a disc at baseline and the presence of more severe degenerative changes in the same disc space at follow-up was analyzed using Fisher exact test. Association between decreased baseline SI and pain/disability scores from the questionnaire was analyzed with Kruskal-Wallis H test. Results. The total number of lumbar discs with decreased SI increased from 23 of 130 (18%) to 92 of 130 (71%)-from 0.9 to 3.5 per subject during the follow-up. Distribution of DD changed from being mostly in L4- L5 and L5-S1 discs to being almost even between the four lowermost discs. Discs that had even slightly decreased SI at baseline were more likely to have severely decreased SI at follow-up, compared to healthy discs (57% vs. 11%, P<0.001). Other degenerative changes were also more common in these discs. Severity of DD at baseline did not have a significant association with current pain or disability. Conclusion. In young LBP patients, early degeneration in lumbar discs predicts progressive degenerative changes in the respective discs, but not pain, disability, or clinical symptoms.
Subject: disc degeneration
disc protrusion
endplate lesions
low back pain
lumbar spine
magnetic resonance imaging
modic changes
oswestry disability index
signal intensity
3112 Neurosciences
3124 Neurology and psychiatry
3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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