Article

Comparison between two types of "Scheuermann disease-like people": thoracolumbar disc herniation patients and healthy volunteers with radiological signs of Scheuermann's disease

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Abstract

Scheuermann's disease (SD) is a spinal disorder and includes both a classic form and an atypical form. Interestingly, its existence among the general population as well as the disc disease patients is common. One of our previous studies showed that about 18% of the hospital staff members meet the SD criteria. On the other hand, another study has demonstrated that 95.2% of the symptomatic thoracolumbar disc herniation (STLDH) patients meet the SD criteria, which suggests that STLDH is very likely a special form of SD. The purpose of this study was to discriminate the factors contributing to the development of STLDH by comparing STLDH patients with the healthy SD-like hospital staff members. This is a retrospective study including 33 STLDH patients who met the SD criteria and 30 SD-like hospital staff members. The STLDH group was chosen from a group of patients who underwent surgery after a diagnosis of STLDH (T10/11-L1/2) at our hospital between June 2007 and June 2010. SD-like hospital staff members were chosen from a database created in 2007, which contained a lumbar MR and low back pain (LBP) questionnaire of 188 hospital staff members. The demographic and radiologic characteristics were compared between groups. There was no statistical difference in sex, age, and height between the two groups. The STLDH patients had higher body weight, boby mass index, and thoracolumbar kyphotic angle than SD-like hospital staff members. In addition, STLDH patients had more levels of Schmorl's nodes (3.5±1.7 vs. 2.0±1.9, t = 3.364, P = 0.001) and irregular endplateson (4.0±1.9 vs. 2.7±1.9, t = 2.667, P = 0.010) compared to the SD-like hospital staff members. Higher body weight, higher body mass index, larger thoracolumbar kyphosis, and more Schmorl's nodes and irregular endplates on MR may be associated with the development of STLDH in "SD-like people."

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Objective We present our experience with anterior transthoracic surgery for high-risk thoracic disc herniations (TDHs) using motor evoked potential monitoring (MEPm). Methods We estimated surgical risk based on clinical and radiological characteristics, including antero-posterior (AP) spinal canal occupation (SCO), AP spinal cord compression (SCC), residual AP spinal cord diameter (RSCD), and intramedullary signal changes (ISC). We analyzed Anand, ASIA, and Nurick scores, anesthesiological, neurophysiological, and surgical reports. We considered >50% MEP signal deterioration significant. Results Out of 435 anterior transthoracic procedures, 77 concerned high-risk TDH(s): 69 single-level (SL), 8 multi-level (ML), 61 with clinical myelopathy, 6 with merely ISC. Mean SCO and SCC were 55.4% and 54.0% for SL, 31.8% and 33.9% for ML cases. ISC were present in 64% of SL and 50% of ML cases, calcifications in 87% of SL and 84% of ML TDHs. We initially performed 23 mini-transthoracic approaches (mini-TTAs) and 24 thoracoscopic microdiscectomies (TMDs), more recently 29 TMDs (23 giant TDHs) and one transaxillary mini-TTA. Overall, 72 patients had reliable MEP signals. Isolated lower extremity MEP signal deteriorations (n=21) correlated with maximal TDH AP diameter, SCO, SCC, and ISC. ASIA and Nurick scores improved in 45% and 66% respectively. One patient became paraplegic. MEP signal deterioration had 100% sensitivity, 75% specificity, 19% positive predictive value during and 44% at end of surgery. Conclusions Maximal TDH AP diameter, SCO, SCC, (sub)total calcification, and ISC correlate with lower extremity MEP signal deterioration. In experienced hands, TMD with MEPm support is a safe, efficient procedure for high-risk TDHs.
Article
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Although Schmorl's nodes (SNs) are a common phenomenon in the normal adult population, their prevalence is controversial and etiology still debatable. The objective was to establish the spatial distribution of SNs along the spine in order to reveal its pathophysiology. In this study, we examined 240 human skeleton spines (T4-L5) (from the Hamann-Todd Osteological Collection) for the presence and location of SNs. To determine the exact position of SNs, each vertebral body surface was divided into 13 zones and 3 areas (anterior, middle, posterior). Our results show that SNs appeared more frequently in the T7-L1 region. The total number of SNs found in our sample was 511: 193 (37.7%) were located on the superior surface and 318 (62.3%) on the inferior surface of the vertebral body. SNs were more commonly found in the middle part of the vertebral body (63.7%). No association was found between the SNs location along the spine and gender, ethnicity and age. This study suggests that the frequency distribution of SNs varies with vertebra location and surface. The results do not lend support to the traumatic or disease explanation of the phenomenon. SNs occurrences are probably associated with the vertebra development process during early life, the nucleus pulposus pressing the weakest part of the end plate in addition to the various strains on the vertebrae and the intervertebral disc along the spine during spinal movements (especially torsional movements).
Article
Scheuermann's disease of the thoracic spine is a well-defined entity, although its exact etiology is unknown. In the thoracolumbar or lumbar spine however, the criteria are much less strict for the application of this eponym. A retrospective review of all the cases of lumbar Scheuermann's disease seen at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital revealed two distinct radiographic pictures. These consisted of a "classic" Scheurermann's and an "atypical" type characterized by vertebral end plate changes, disc space narrowing, and anterior Schmorl's nodes, but not otherwise fulfilling Sorenson's criteria. This group tended to occur in more athletic adolescents or those with a history of increased axial stress to the spine. A subgrouping of atypical Scheuermann's disease is proposed and includes acute traumatic intraosseous disc herniation. Based on these findings, a classification of lumbar Scheuermann's disease is proposed.
Article
Study design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: To investigate the relationship between radiological signs of Scheuermann disease (SD) and low back pain (LBP) in a local population using lumbar magnetic resonance (MR) images. Summary of background data: SD is a spinal disorder, and both its classic and atypical (lumbar) forms are associated with LBP. However, radiological signs of SD are present in 18% to 40% of the general population, in whom the clinical significance of "SD-like" spine remains largely unknown. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 188 staff members from a single hospital. Participants' lumbar MR images and self-administered questionnaires concerning demographic information, LBP status, consequences, and functional limitations were collected. Participants were classified into 2 groups according to whether lumbar MR images met SD diagnostic criteria, and LBP status, consequences, and functional limitation were compared. Follow-up interviews were conducted after 6 years to compare LBP progression. Results: Thirty-four participants (18.1%) had SD-like spine. Rates of lifetime, previous 1-year, and point LBP did not significantly differ between groups. However, among participants who had ever had LBP, SD-like spine was associated with higher rates of work absence (42.1% vs. 9.5%, χ = 9.620, P = 0.002) and seeking medical care (68.4% vs. 39.2%, χ = 5.216, P = 0.022) due to LBP, as well as significantly greater intensity of the most severe LBP episode in the past 2 years (6.4 ± 2.5 vs. 4.1 ± 2.5, t = 3.564, P = 0.001). Among the 159 participants who completed the 6-year follow-up, a significantly higher proportion of people with SD-like spine reported aggravated LBP during the follow-up. Conclusion: Our results suggest that in the general population, lumbar MR images of many people meet SD diagnostic criteria, and having SD-like spine seemed to be associated with the severity and progressive nature of LBP. Our findings should inspire further research in this field. Level of evidence: 3.
Article
Scheuermann's disease is a juvenile osteochondrosis of the spine. It is a disease of the growth cartilage endplate, probably due to repetitive strain on the growth cartilage weakened by a genetic background. The radiographic aspects are related to the vertebral endplate lesions and include vertebral wedging, irregularity of the vertebral endplate, and Schmorl's node (intraossous disk herniation). Disc alterations are frequent and may be secondary to dysfunction of the disc-vertebra complex. The definitions of Scheuermann's disease are varied; it can refer to the classical form of juvenile kyphosis, described by Scheuermann as well as asymptomatic radiographic abnormalities. Lumbar involvement is probably as frequent as the thoracic form and might be more painful. The first-line treatment is medical and includes rehabilitation and bracing. The earlier the start of treatment, the better the outcome, which highlights the importance of early diagnosis. Surgery is uncommon and must be limited to severe involvement after failure of conservative treatment. The natural history of Scheuermann's disease is unknown, but it might be associated with increased risk of back pain. The evolution of thoracolumbar and lumbar disease is unknown.
Article
Symptomatic disc herniations in the thoracolumbar spine between T10/11 and L1/2 can be collectively called thoracolumbar disc herniation (TLDH). The etiology of this disorder is unclear. However, it is interesting that we have noted numerous TLDH patients have radiographic features of another spinal disorder which is Scheuermann's disease (SD). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between symptomatic TLDH and SD in a symptomatic TLDH cohort. A cohort of 63 patients with symptomatic TLDH, who had surgery was investigated. Incidences of associated SD and four radiographic signs of SD that were Schmorl's node, irregular vertebral end plate, posterior bony avulsion of the vertebra and wedge-shaped vertebra, average thoracolumbar kyphotic angle and incidences of disc herniation at segments with and without radiographic signs of SD were examined. Data from the TLDH group were compared with 57 patients undergoing surgery for lower lumbar disc herniation (LDH, L3/4-L5/S1) in the same period. The incidences of the four radiographic signs of SD and the incidence of associated SD were all significantly higher in the TLDH group than in the LDH group. 95.2 % of the patients in the TLDH group were diagnosed with SD (either classical SD or its atypical form). The average thoracolumbar kyphotic angle of the TLDH group was 16.9°, while that of the LDH group was 7.6° (P = 0.000). In the TLDH group, the incidences of disc herniation at segments with radiographic signs of SD were all significantly higher than at segments where no sign of SD was found. The high proportion of associated SD and the tendency of SD's signs to promote disc herniation in symptomatic TLDH patients suggest a close relationship between these two disorders. Symptomatic TLDH should be seen as a truly different surgical entity, that is, a special form of SD rather than just an indicator of a failing back.
Article
Study design: Retrospective and radiological analysis of spinopelvic sagittal alignment in Chinese patients with thoracic and thoracolumbar kyphosis. Objective: To determine the impact of thoracic and thoracolumbar kyphosis on pelvic sagittal morphology and the mechanisms of adjusting trunk sagittal balance. Summary of background data: Previous studies have reported the normative values of pelvic sagittal parameters and classification of normal patterns of sagittal curvature, but no study has analyzed the impact of thoracic and thoracolumbar kyphosis on pelvic sagittal morphology and the mechanisms of maintaining the sagittal balance. Methods: Whole spine and standing lateral radiographs of 49 Chinese patients with thoracic and thoracolumbar kyphosis were obtained before surgery, immediately after surgery, and in the final follow-up. The pelvic and spinal parameters were measured and the correlations of all parameters were analyzed. A descriptive analysis characterizing these parameters and a multivariate analysis were performed. Results: The patients had a mean age of 30.3 years, whereas the mean age at which the patients who developed kyphosis was 7.1 years. Preoperative pelvic incidence was significantly less than that of normal subjects, and there was no difference in the preoperative, in the immediate postoperative, and in the final follow-up radiographs. The magnitude of kyphosis and the levels involved were independent factors of pelvic incidence. Pelvis anteversion and lumbar hyperlordosis were the mechanisms of adjusting the trunk sagittal balance. Although kyphosis and sagittal imbalance was corrected by surgery, pelvic sagittal morphology remained unchanged. Conclusion: Thoracic and thoracolumbar angular kyphosis occurring during the growth period will lead to abnormal pelvic morphology. The greater the kyphotic angle and lower the kyphotic levels, the greater the impact on the pelvic morphology during skeletal maturation. The mechanisms of adjusting the trunk sagittal balance not only include pelvis anteverting, but also lumbar hyperlordosis. The latter serves as the main mechanism once skeletal maturation has been established. After skeletal maturation, surgery can re-establish the spinal sagittal balance but not the pelvis morphology. Level of evidence: 3.
Article
An autopsy study. To investigate associations between various types of lumbar endplate lesions, disc degeneration (DD), and back pain history. The well-innervated vertebral endplate has been suspected as a source of back pain. Previously, we observed 4 types of lumbar endplate lesions with distinct morphological characteristics. Their roles in DD and back pain remain unclear. From a lumbar spine archive of 136 men (mean age, 52 yr), back pain, back injury, and occupation history data for 69 subjects and discography data for 443 discs from 109 subjects were available for study. Back pain history was categorized as none, occasional, or frequent. DD was judged from discography. Endplate lesions were classified as Schmorl's nodes, fracture, erosion, or calcification, and lesion size was rated as none, small, moderate, or large. Associations between endplate lesions and DD, back pain history, back injury, and occupation history were examined. Presence of endplate lesions was associated with frequent (odds ratio [OR] = 2.57) but not occasional back pain. However, large endplate lesions were associated with both occasional (OR = 8.68) and frequent (OR = 17.88) back pain. This association remained after further controlling for DD. Also, the presence of each type of endplate lesion was associated with adjacent DD (OR = 2.40-9.71), with larger lesions associated with more severe DD. Endplate erosion lesions were more strongly associated with adjacent DD than Schmorl's nodes. Although back injury history was associated with the presence of fracture and erosion lesions, heavy occupation was associated with the presence of Schmorl's nodes. Endplate lesions are associated with back pain as well as being closely associated with adjacent DD, with a clear dosage effect. Different types of endplate lesions seem to have different magnitudes of associations with DD. Lumbar endplate lesions may be an important key to better understand both DD and back pain.
Article
A cross-sectional population-based magnetic resonance imaging study of Schmorl nodes (SN) in the lumbar spine. To determine the prevalence and potential determinants of SN, and their association with intervertebral disc degeneration. SN represent intravertebral disc herniation and are commonly seen in the spine. Their reported prevalence and determinants vary, and their association with disc degeneration remains uncertain. Data based on this large scale population-based study of intervertebral disc degeneration would provide important information for understanding SN and their pathomechanism. Sagittal T2-weighted magnetic resonance imagings of the lumbar spine were analyzed in 2449 volunteers. Two independent observers assessed the images for the presence of SN, and scored for additional radiologic features (e.g., severity of degeneration, presence of disc bulge/extrusion). Subject demographics were assessed by standardized questionnaire. SN were found in 16.4% (n = 401; 219 males, 182 females; mean age = 42.3) of our study population (981 males, 1468 females; mean age = 40.4), being most common at L1/2 and L2/3 (54.1%). Multivariate logistic regression revealed that males, taller and heavier individuals had an increased likelihood of SN (P < 0.005), but association between SN and age were not discerned. Overall presence of SN was associated with disc degeneration (P < 0.001), and linearly correlated (R = 0.97) with increase in severity of degeneration. SN were particularly associated with severe disc degeneration at L1/2 and L2/3 with 22- to 15-fold increased odds, respectively (P < 0.0001), but less than 5-fold increased odds (P < 0.001) were noted in the lower lumbar spine. In a population-based cohort, 16.4% of Southern Chinese subjects had SN at 1 or more lumbar levels. Males, taller and heavier individuals had increased likelihood of SN. Interestingly, SN were highly associated with severity of disc degeneration.
Article
Spinal osteochondrosis, previously known as Scheuermann's disease and spinal osteochondritis, is common and is probably becoming increasingly prevalent. Its incidence in patients whose primary complaint was of backache was shown to be twice as great as that in the general population. There was also a significantly higher incidence of lower lumbar spondylosis in patients with previous osteochondrosis compared with those without. Osteochondrosis is thereby shown to be an important aetiological factor in spondylosis.
Article
This report concerns 15 adults (nine men and six women) who experienced lumbar and sciatic pain associated with an unusual defect of the edges of the vertebral bodies together with a small bony ridge protruding into the spinal canal. This lesion was well demonstrated by computed tomography and easily differentiated from the posterior longitudinal ligament or herniated disc calcifications, as well as from posterior degenerative ridge osteophytes. This lesion looked like the so-called lumbar posterior marginal node. First described in adolescents, this entity was considered as a traumatic fracture of the posterior ring apophysis. Recently, identical cases were noted in young adults in the absence of previous trauma, which were a particular type of marginal cartilaginous node. In the cases reported here, the computed tomographic scans suggested several mechanisms of formation of the vertebral lesion: a variant of marginal cartilaginous nodes; traumatic avulsion; avulsion related to disc herniation; and fusion of the avulsed bony fragment with the vertebral body.
Article
Comparison of the radiographic signs of Scheuermann disease and the corresponding disc degeneration on thoracolumbar magnetic resonance (MR) images was made in 21 young patients. Marginal sclerosis, Schmorl nodes and narrowed disc spaces, but not irregular or wedge-shaped end-plates, were significantly associated with disc degeneration. Fifty-five percent of the discs in the patients with Scheuermann disease were abnormal on MRI, compared with 10% in asymptomatic controls. Our study confirms that thoracolumbar disc degeneration is enhanced in 20-year-old patients with low back pain who have radiological evidence of Scheuermann disease.
Article
Nineteen adolescent patients who presented with mechanical-type back pain and vertebral changes consisting of intravertebral disc herniation, disc space narrowing, and minimal wedge deformity are described. The symptoms and signs were primarily located at the dorsolumbar junction. A specific strenuous activity or traumatic event was clearly associated with the onset of symptoms in 16 of the 19 patients. Spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis (grade I or II) at L5-S1 was also found in 32% of the patients. Most patients responded well to a program of rest, exercises, salicylates, and temporary avoidance of the particular activity involved. Some required orthoses to obtain relief. No patient had a progressive kyphotic deformity during the follow-up period. The relationship of this condition to increased stresses applied to the immature spine, particularly in a preflexed posture, is emphasized.
Article
Scheuermann's disease of the thoracic spine is a well-defined entity, although its exact etiology is unknown. In the thoracolumbar or lumbar spine however, the criteria are much less strict for the application of this eponym. A retrospective review of all the cases of lumbar Scheuermann's disease seen at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital revealed two distinct radiographic pictures. These consisted of a "classic" Scheuermann's and an "atypical" type characterized by vertebral end plate changes, disc space narrowing, and anterior Schmorl's nodes, but not otherwise fulfilling Sorenson's criteria. This group tended to occur in more athletic adolescents or those with a history of increased axial stress to the spine. A subgrouping of atypical Scheuermann's disease is proposed and includes acute traumatic intraosseous disc herniation. Based on these findings, a classification of lumbar Scheuermann's disease is proposed.
Article
The authors report 6 cases of thoracic disk herniations in patients with Scheuermann's disease. They underline the relationship between the neurological symptomatology and Scheuermann's disease by the herniation and evolution in their treatment by a new surgical approach.
Article
Thoracic disc herniation is uncommon. An incidence of 0.25 to 0.75 per cent of protruded disks are in the thoracic region. A peak incidence is noted in the fourth decade with 75 per cent of the protruded disks occurring below T8. Pain is the most common initial symptom, present in 57 per cent of the cases, followed by sensory disturbances and motor involvement. By the time of diagnosis, 90 per cent of the patients have signs of spinal-cord compression. Although myelography has been considered the test of choice, 8 per cent false negative results and a correct preoperative diagnosis of 56 per cent has been reported. Now, with CT scanning with and without metrizamide, more accurate diagnoses can be achieved, even with cases in which myelography is negative. There has been a considerable improvement in the surgical treatment of herniated thoracic disks with over an 80 per cent rate of success for surgical approaches other than the posterior approach (decompressive laminectomy). An early and accurate diagnosis, coupled with improvement in the surgical approach, offers a much better prognosis for patients with thoracic disk herniation.
Article
Unlabelled: Histological and histochemical studies of the spine of a sixteen-year-old boy with juvenile kyphosis who was killed in an automobile accident showed abnormal cartilage in extensive areas of the vertebral and growth plates of the involved vertebrae. In these areas the cartilage matrix was loose, strongly positive when stained with alcian blue and weakly positive to periodic acid-Schiff, and it contained numerous chondrocytes. Some chondrocytes were irregularly shaped and others were in clusters. Vertebral bone growth was stunted under the areas of abnormal vertebral and growth plates. The ossification in the ring apophyses was irregular in areas of abnormal cartilage plate, but necrotic bone was not seen. Schmorl nodes had formed where areas of abnormal cartilage plate adjoining the nucleus pulposus had collapsed, allowing the disc material to herniate into the vertebral body. Clinical relevance: The defective vertebral-bone formation in juvenile kyphosis appears to result from abnormal vertebral and growth-plate cartilage. The kyphosis and presumably also the cartilage abnormality can be improved during the florid stage of the disease by decreasing the postural load on the anterior part of the vertebrae with the use of a proper brace.
Article
In juvenile kyphosis (JK), the roentgenographic defects correspond to the sites of large translucent areas of the collagen-free tissue in the cartilaginous end plates of vertebral bodies. The extent of the roentgenographic lesions is proportional to the number and size of these translucent areas. The gradual transition of radiologic signs between the fully developed JK and the normal spine is paralleled by the decreasing intensity of these histologic change. This relationship can be traced from individual to individual, and within single vertebral columns. The growth zone is often narrow or even missing. The end plates are narrow and segmentally indented towards the vertebral body. These findings are manifestations of the pathogenetic process. Prolapses of disk tissue through gaps in the end plates are probably secondary to the loss of mechanical strength in these defective areas.
Article
We reviewed magnetic resonance imaging studies of the thoracic spines of ninety asymptomatic individuals to determine the prevalence of abnormal anatomical findings. This group included sixty individuals who had no history of any thoracic or lumbar pain and thirty individuals who had a history of low-back pain only. In addition, we reviewed imaging studies of eighteen patients who had an operatively proved herniation of a thoracic disc and studies of thirty-one patients who had been seen with thoracic pain. Sagittal T1-weighted spin-echo and axial multiplanar gradient refocused images at each disc level were interpreted by us (two neuroradiologists and two orthopaedic spine surgeons); we had no clinical information about the patients. Sixty-six (73 percent) of the ninety asymptomatic individuals had positive anatomical findings at one level or more. These findings included herniation of a disc in thirty-three subjects (37 percent), bulging of a disc in forty-eight (53 percent), an annular tear in fifty-two (58 percent), deformation of the spinal cord in twenty-six (29 percent), and Scheuermann end-plate irregularities or kyphosis in thirty-four (38 percent). This study documents the high prevalence of anatomical irregularities, including herniation of a disc and deformation of the spinal cord, on the magnetic resonance images of the thoracic spine in asymptomatic individuals. We emphasize that these findings represent roentgenographic abnormalities only, and any clinical decisions concerning the treatment of pain in the thoracic spine usually require additional studies.
Article
Descriptive epidemiologic study about magnetic resonance imaging findings in the spine. To describe the prevalence of magnetic resonance imaging findings in a general population at spinal levels T6-S1, and to examine the relationships of these findings within each spinal level and between levels. The prevalence of specific findings and the associations between findings and spinal levels can provide general insights into the etiopathogenesis of spinal degeneration. Subjects consisted of 232 men from a population sample (mean age 49.3 years). Signal intensity, disc bulging, disc herniation, and endplate irregularities were among 11 findings assessed from magnetic resonance images. The disc signal intensities were assessed to be lowest in the lumbar and middle thoracic regions. Disc bulging and disc height narrowing were most common in the lower levels of both the thoracic and lumbar regions. All magnetic resonance imaging findings except herniations and endplate irregularities were clearly associated with age. Osteophytes were most highly associated with disc bulging in levels T6-L3, and with endplate irregularities in the lower lumbar levels. Disc herniations were not consistently associated with any other findings. The disc levels that most highly correlated are grouped as follows: T6-T10, T10-L4, and L4-S1. With the exception of endplate irregularities and herniations, the magnetic resonance imaging findings appeared to be associated with the same pathogenic process. The interaction of mechanical factors and spinal structures varies between spinal levels, and the degeneration common in the lower parts of the thoracic and lumbar spine could be an outcome of vulnerability for torsional forces. Some gross guidelines for grouping findings can be drawn from disc level correlations.
Article
This study was undertaken to document an association of degenerative lumbar disc disease in patients with thoracolumbar Scheuermann's disease. During a 3-month period, 9% of 1419 of the persons referred to our center for magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine demonstrated changes of both thoracolumbar Scheuermann's disease and degenerative disc disease in the lower lumbar spine. The disease was less commonly detected on computed tomography (2% of 1522 patients). The patients were relatively young: 81% were younger than 40 years and 9% were younger than 21 years. We theorize that the thoracolumbar Scheuermann's disease and the associated degenerative disc disease of the lower lumbar spine are manifestations of an intrinsic defect of the discs and/or cartilaginous end plates, which results in inadequate nutrition and structural weakness or a combination of both, and early degeneration.
Article
To evaluate whether the COL9A3 tryptophan allele (Trp3 allele) is associated with a specific radiologic phenotype among patients with sciatica. One hundred fifty-three patients with sciatica were evaluated for the presence of Trp3 allele, Scheuermann disease, intervertebral disk degeneration, Schmorl nodules, dorsal anular tears, hyperintense lesions, and endplate degeneration on sagittal T2-weighted lumbar magnetic resonance images. The Trp3 genotype was determined by means of sequencing the COL9A3 gene. Radiologic phenotypes were evaluated while blinded to the genotype. Scheuermann disease was diagnosed if either endplate irregularities or Schmorl nodules and two of the other three criteria (disk space narrowing, disk dehydration, and wedging of anterior vertebral body margins) were present at three or more adjacent disk levels from T10-11 to L3-4. Disk degeneration was evaluated separately for each disk (T11-12 to L5-S1) and for all disks combined. Frequencies of radiologic phenotypes between individuals with or without Trp3 allele were compared. Thirty-four patients had at least one Trp3 allele. When compared with the matched control subjects, they had an increased likelihood of Scheuermann disease (P =.035) and an increased number of degenerated disks from T11 to S1 (P =.021). Comparisons at individual disks showed a statistically significant increase in disk degeneration at T11-12 (analysis of all grades of degeneration [graded], P =.018; analysis of any degeneration vs none [dichotomous], P =.039) and L4-5 (graded, P =.011; dichotomous, P =.016). Prevalences of anular tears, endplate degeneration, Schmorl nodules, and hyperintense lesions were comparable. The results of this study indicate that the presence of Trp3 allele is associated with Scheuermann disease and intervertebral disk degeneration. No associations were found for other radiologic phenotypes.
Article
1.1. Protrusions of intervertebral discs have been found in 63 per cent of a series of ninety-nine unselected cases (cadavers). Cervical protrusions were seen about twice as frequently as lumbar, which in turn were four times as numerous as thoracic protrusions.2.2. In the cervical region the fourth, fifth and sixth discs were most frequently involved. In the lumbar region the protrusions were located at the fourth and fifth (lumbosacral) discs in the majority of cases.3.3. Nearly half of the cases showed multiple involvement. It was common in the cervical region, less frequent and extensive in the lumbar region and rare at thoracic levels.4.4. The protrusions showed considerable variation in size (o to 7 mm.). Approximately half were less than 2 mm. high, the rest being about equally divided into medium- (2 to 4 mm.) and large-sized protrusions (4 to 7 mm.) Although large protrusions were found most abundantly at lumbar levels, they were not infrequently seen in the cervical portion of the spinal column.5.5. Many of the protrusions (32 per cent) encountered showed no rupture of the annulus fibrosus. The annuli were stretched and bulged at foci where reinforcement was weak or absent. In the cervical region these protrusions were in the form of transverse ridges which encroached on the intervertebral foramina and vertebral canal. In the lumbar region they were nodular and usually encroached on the intervertebral foramen.6.6. Most of the protrusions (68 per cent) showed rupture of the annulus fibrosus and extrusion of the nucleus pulposus in whole or in part. The form of the protrusions and points of impingement showed no considerable variation from the aforementioned (5).7.7. Compression of the intervertebral disc was greater with ridge-like protrusions than with the nodular variety. It was greater in actively mobile regions of the spinal column than in more stable regions. Markedly compressed discs do not necessarily result in nerve degeneration.8.8. In this series damage to the nervous system resulted from protrusions which narrowed the intervertebral foramina. Except for meningeal thickening, protrusions encroaching on the spinal canal failed to produce changes.9.9. Degeneration in the fasciculus cuneatus was associated with degeneration in the sensory roots at sites of disc protrusions.10.10. The failure to detect degeneration in the fasciculus gracilis is attributed to the low incidence of cases showing multiple lumbar disc involvement.11.11. Dorsal spinocerebellar tract involvement is associated with stenosis or occlusion of spinal branches of the vertebral artery or aorta, resulting in a partial ischemia at levels affected by protrusions.12.12. There is no simple rule by which the amount of insult to the nervous system can be assessed. Size of the protrusion was important, but certainly also was location, especially with reference to the intervertebral foramen. Finally, the type of protrusion was an important factor in determining damage to the nervous system.
Article
The purpose of this study was to establish a cohort of symptomatic twins with Scheuermann kyphosis to provide estimates of prevalence, concordance, odds ratio, and heritability. These estimates indicate to what extent genetic factors contribute to the etiology of this disease. The Odense-based Danish Twin Registry is unique in that it contains data on all 73,000 twin pairs born in Denmark over the last 130 years. For the present study, all 46,418 twins born from 1931 through 1982 received a seventeen-page questionnaire, in which one question was "Have you been diagnosed with Scheuermann disease by a doctor"? The prevalence of self-reported Scheuermann disease was calculated, with the total number of answers used as the general population. Pairwise and probandwise concordance, odds ratio, tetrachoric correlations, and heritability were calculated. We found that the overall prevalence of Scheuermann disease was 2.8%, with a prevalence of 2.1% among women and 3.6% among men (p < 0.0001). The pairwise concordance for monozygotic twins was 0.19 compared with 0.07 for dizygotic twins. The probandwise concordance was 0.31 for monozygotic twins and 0.13 for dizygotic twins. The odds ratios were 32.92 and 6.25 in the monozygotic and dizygotic twins, respectively. These differences were significant (p < 0.01). Heritability was 74%. In a large cohort of twins that included almost 35,000 individuals, the self-reported overall prevalence of Scheuermann disease was 2.8% and the male-to-female ratio was close to 2:1. Because the pairwise and probandwise concordance and the odds ratio were two to three times higher in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins and the heritability was high, we concluded that there is a major genetic contribution to the etiology of Scheuermann disease.
Article
Schmorl's nodes (SN) are common, but little is known of their relationship with degenerative change and back pain or genetic and environmental factors influencing their expression. We studied healthy female twin volunteers to determine the prevalence and clinical features associated with SN. Serial sagittal T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance images of the lower thoracic and lumbar spine were analyzed in 516 healthy female twins (150 monozygotic and 366 dizygotic). The images were scored for lumbar degenerative change. Presence of SN was noted at cranial and caudal vertebral levels T9 to L5. Data on physical activity and back pain were collected by questionnaire. Heritability of SN was calculated using variance components modeling. SN were found in 30% of subjects. Of the 374 SN, 153 (41%) were in the lumbar spine and 221 (59%) were in the thoracic spine. SN heritability was >70%. There was a positive association between SN and lumbar disc disease (LDD). SN were more frequent in subjects with back pain (for >/=2 SN: odds ratio [OR] 2.68, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.11-6.47, P = 0.03), but this was largely accounted for by the association of SN with LDD (OR 1.97, 95% CI 0.78-5.0, P = 0.15 adjusted for LDD). No independent association of SN with back pain was identified. SN are common in middle-aged women and are strongly genetically determined. They are associated with lumbar degenerative change, which is a risk factor for back pain, but are not themselves an independent risk factor for back pain.
Scheuermann's juvenile kyphosis: clinical appearances, radiography, aetiology, and prognosis. Copenhagen: Enjar Munksgaard Forlag
  • K H Sorensen
Sorensen KH. Scheuermann's juvenile kyphosis: clinical appearances, radiography, aetiology, and prognosis. Copenhagen: Enjar Munksgaard Forlag; 1964.