Assessment of lumbar vertebrae morphology by magnetic resonance imaging in osteoporosis

Department of Radiodiagnostics, Faculty of Medicine, Near East University, Lefkosa, Mersin, Turkey, .
Skeletal Radiology (Impact Factor: 1.51). 05/2012; 41(12):1583-90. DOI: 10.1007/s00256-012-1435-0
Source: PubMed


To investigate the lumbar spinal morphology in patients with and without osteoporosis by comparing the endplate changes, intervertebral disc changes, and vertebral heights.
This is a retrospective study. Medical records of the 3,530 patients admitted to the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation outpatient clinics with low back pain between August 2010 and August 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 64 patients of whom 57 were females (89.1 %) and seven were males (10.9 %) were included in the study. Participants were divided into an osteoporosis group, an osteopenia group, and a nonosteoporotic control group, according to bone mineral densities.
In this study, mid heights of L3, L4, and L5 vertebrae were found to be higher in the normal group than in both the osteopenic and osteoporotic groups. Mid part heights of L1-2, L2-3, and L5-S1 intervertebral discs were significantly lower in the normal group when compared to the osteopenic and osteoporotic groups. End-plate marrow abnormality was detected in L1 lower end plate in 75 % of normal subjects, 40.6 % of osteopenics, and 25 % of osteoporotics. Statistically significant difference in the presence of Schmorl nodes in L5 vertebra lower end plates was present between groups; 58.3 % of normals, 34.4 % of osteopenics and 15 % of osteoporotics had Schmorl nodes in L5 vertebra lower end plates. There was a significant difference regarding disc degeneration and intradiscal gas presence in L5-S1 intervertebral discs between groups; 66.7 % of normals, 28.1 % of osteopenics, and 25 % of osteoporotics had severe disc degeneration and intradiscal gas was present in L5-S1 intervertebral discs.
Significant changes in morphology of the lumbar spine and intervertebral discs were found. It was revealed that the effects of osteoporosis are not limited to the bone but also present in the intervertebral discs. Mid heights of intervertebral discs were higher in the osteoporotic and osteopenic groups when compared to normal subjects along with the lowered mid heights of lumbar vertebrae. It was also observed that stronger vertebral bones were associated with more disc and vertebral degeneration.

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