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Asian Spine Journal





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Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Purpose: To evaluate lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in symptomatic subjects to accumulate baseline data on the pattern of degeneration. Overview of Literature: LDD plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of low-back pain in patients. Few studies have focused on the pattern of LDD to understand how the lumbar spine ages. Methods: This study included 1,095 patients (mean age, 44.29 years; range, 16–85 years) who underwent upright lumbar MRI. LDD was graded into five categories (I–V). Positive LDD was defined as grade III or greater. The prevalence and pattern of LDD were ana-lyzed, and the correlations between age and total grade of LDD were evaluated. Results: The average number of LDD levels and the total grade of LDD increased with age. LDD moved cephalad with age. The rate of LDD increased rapidly during the decade before the prevalence of LDD and became > 50%. In the single-level LDD group, the levels L5–S1 were the most common levels (60.3%). In the two-level group, L4–L5 and L5–S1 were the most common levels (53.5%). In the three-level group, L3–L4, L4–L5, and L5–S1 were the most common levels (55.7%). In the multilevel LDD group, contiguous multilevel disc degeneration (CMDD) was more common than the skipped level disc degeneration (SLDD). The levels L4–L5 were the most com-mon levels in the CMDD group, and L5–S1 were the most common levels among SLDD. Conclusions: LDD was found to correlate with age, and the specific patterns and rates of LDD depended on lumbar disc level and age. These LDD pattern data can be used before spinal procedures to predict the probability of natural LDD progression with age.


Intervertebral disc degeneration; Low back pain; Magnetic resonance imaging; Patterns of degeneration

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Magnetic resonance imaging; Backache; Lumbar vertebrae


Orthopedics | Surgery

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352 KB


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