Painful Lumbar Disk Derangement: Relevance of Endplate Abnormalities at MR Imaging.

Departments of Radiology, Orthopaedic University Hospital Balgrist, Zurich, Switzerland.
Radiology (Impact Factor: 6.21). 03/2001; 218(2):420-7. DOI: 10.1148/radiology.218.2.r01fe15420
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the predictive value of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of abnormalities of the lumbar intervertebral disks, particularly with adjacent endplate changes, to predict symptomatic disk derangement, with discography as the standard.
Fifty patients aged 28-50 years with chronic low back pain and without radicular leg pain underwent prospective clinical examination and sagittal T1- and T2-weighted and transverse T2-weighted MR imaging. Subsequently, patients underwent lumbar discography with a pain provocation test (116 disks). MR images were evaluated for disk degeneration, a high-signal-intensity zone, and endplate abnormalities. Results of pain provocation at discography were rated independently of the image findings as concordant or as nonconcordant or painless. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated to assess the clinical relevance of MR abnormalities.
Normal disks on MR images were generally not painful at provocative discography (NPV, 98%). Disk degeneration (sensitivity, 98%; specificity, 59%; PPV, 63%) and a high-signal-intensity zone (sensitivity, 27%; specificity, 85%; PPV, 56%) were not helpful in the identification of symptomatic disk derangement. When only moderate and severe type I and type II endplate abnormalities were considered abnormal, all injected disks caused concordant pain with provocation (sensitivity, 38%; specificity, 100%; PPV, 100%).
Moderate and severe endplate abnormalities appear be useful in the prediction of painful disk derangement in patients with symptomatic low back pain.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: In the literature, inter-vertebral MRI signal intensity changes (Modic changes) were associated with corresponding histological observations on endplate biopsies. However, tissue-level studies were limited. No quantitative histomorphometric study on bone biopsies has yet been conducted for Modic changes. The aim of this study was to characterise the bone micro-architectural parameters and bone remodelling indices associated with Modic changes. Methods: Forty patients suffering from disabling low back pain, undergoing elective spinal surgery, and exhibiting Modic changes on MRI (Modic 1, n = 9; Modic 2, n = 25; Modic 3, n = 6), had a transpedicular vertebral body biopsy taken of subchondral bone. Biopsies were first examined by micro-CT, for 3D morphometric analysis of bone volume fraction (BV/TV), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), trabecular separation, trabecular number, and structure model index. Then, samples underwent histological analysis, for determination of bone remodelling indices: osteoid surface to bone surface ratio (OS/BS), eroded surface to bone surface (ES/BS) and osteoid surface to eroded surface ratio (OS/ES). Results: Micro-CT analysis revealed significantly higher BV/TV (up to 70 % increase, p < 0.01) and Tb.Th (up to +57 %, p < 0.01) in Modic 3 biopsies, compared to Modic 1 and 2. Histological analysis showed significantly lower OS/BS in Modic 2 biopsies (more than 28 % decrease, p < 0.05) compared to 1 and 3. ES/BS progressively decreased from Modic 1 to 2 to 3, whereas OS/ES progressively increased with significantly higher values in Modic 3 (up to 159 % increase, p < 0.05) than in Modic 1 and 2. Conclusions: Significant differences were found in bone micro-architectural parameters and remodelling indices among Modic types. Modic 1 biopsies had evidence of highest bone turnover, possibly due to an inflammatory process; Modic 2 biopsies were consistent with a reduced bone formation/remodelling stage; Modic 3 biopsies suggested a more stable sclerotic phase, with significantly increased BV/TV and Tb.Th compared to Modic 1 and 2, linked to increased bone formation and reduced resorption.
    European Spine Journal 07/2014; · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is still no clear definition of diskogenic low-back pain and no consensus on a generally agreed test, such as provocative diskography (PD), to diagnose painful disk degeneration, and probably more importantly, to predict the outcome of therapy intended to reduce pain that is presumed to be diskogenic in nature. Nevertheless, PD is the most specific procedure to diagnose diskogenic low-back pain. Its accuracy, however, is rather low or at best unknown. Although rare, the most prevalent complication, postdiskography diskitis, can be devastating for the individual patient, so all measures, like strict sterile conditions and antibiotic prophylaxis, should be taken to avoid this complication. It is advised to perform the procedure in a pressure-controlled way with a constant low flow, and optionally computed tomography imaging. PD should not be performed in morphologically normal disks. A standardized execution of the test should be established in order to perform high-quality studies to determine its accuracy to lead to meaningful interventions, and find best practices for diagnosis and treatment of diskogenic back pain. Possibly, PD may have detrimental effects on the disk, causing early degeneration, although it is unknown whether this will be related to clinical symptoms. Especially with these possible adverse side effects in mind, the risk-benefit ratio with the lack of clear benefits from treatments provided, and possible complications of disk puncture, the rationale for PD is questionable, which should be stressed to patients in the process of shared decision making. Diskography as a stand-alone test is not recommended in clinical decision making for patients with chronic low-back pain.
    Journal of pain research. 01/2014; 7:699-705.

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