Diagnostic Tools and Imaging Methods in Intervertebral Disk Degeneration

Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.
Orthopedic Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 1.25). 10/2011; 42(4):501-11, viii. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocl.2011.07.007
Source: PubMed


Low back pain has a negative impact on the economy and society. Intervertebral disk degeneration is linked to the occurrence of low back pain. MRI provides three-dimensional morphologic and biochemical information regarding the status of the disk. This article reviews new and evolving MRI disk-imaging techniques, including grading, relaxation-time measurements, diffusion, and contrast perfusion. In addition, high-resolution magic-angle spinning methods to correlate in vitro disk degeneration (with pain, etc) and in vivo spectroscopic results are discussed. With the potential for morphologic and biochemical characterization of the intervertebral disk, MRI shows promise as a tool to quantitatively assess disk health.

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