Uncertainties in the Measurement of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis at MR Imaging: Are They Clinically Relevant?

Scientific Department, Fundación Kovacs, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Radiology (Impact Factor: 6.87). 04/2012; 263(1):310-1. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.12112548
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Lumbar back pain is a common presentation to general practices and hospital emergency departments, with a financial cost alone of $9.17 billion in Australia in 2001. Its management can be complex, requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Identifying an underlying pathological cause with imaging is commonly used when conservative approaches have failed or are insufficient. With improved accessibility and increasing use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate low back pain, general practitioners are exposed to a set of recommended terminology used among the various specialties involved in lumbar spinal conditions. This article aims to illustrate these descriptive terms, the various lumbar spinal pathology and its clinical implications regarding management. MRI may be useful in specific clinical situations in lumbar back pain, however, the importance of a thorough clinical assessment cannot be overstated. An understanding of the benefits and limitations of MRI in evaluating lumbar back pain and improved communiction between healthcare providers, should allow for optimal management of the patient's radiologically matched clinical issues.
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