, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 1865-1873
Date: 21 Jul 2010

Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and lumbar spine configuration

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As life expectancy increases, degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (DLSS) becomes a common health problem among the elderly. DLSS is usually caused by degenerative changes in bony and/or soft tissue elements. The poor correlation between radiological manifestations and the clinical picture emphasizes the fact that more studies are required to determine the natural course of this syndrome. Our aim was to reveal the association between lower lumbar spine configuration and DLSS. Two groups were studied: the first included 67 individuals with DLSS (mean age 66 ± 10) and the second 100 individuals (mean age 63.4 ± 13) without DLSS-related symptoms. Both groups underwent CT images (Philips Brilliance 64) and the following measurements were performed: a cross-section area of the dural sac, vertebral body dimensions (height, length and width), AP diameter of the bony spinal canal, lumbar lordosis and sacral slope angles. All measurements were taken at L3 to S1. Vertebral body lengths were significantly greater in the DLSS group at all levels compared to the control, whereas anterior vertebral body heights (L3, L4, L5) and middle vertebral heights (L3, L5) were significantly smaller in the LSS group. Lumbar lordosis, sacral slope and bony spinal canal were significantly smaller in the DLSS compared to the control. We conclude that the size and shape of vertebral bodies and canals significantly differed between the study groups. A tentative model is suggested to explain the association between these characteristics and the development of degenerative spinal stenosis.