Skeletal Radiology

, 40:1175 | Cite as

Imaging of lumbar degenerative disk disease: history and current state

  • Todd M. Emch
  • Michael T. Modic
Special Issue: Jubilee


One of the most common indications for performing magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the lumbar spine is the symptom complex thought to originate as a result of degenerative disk disease. MR imaging, which has emerged as perhaps the modality of choice for imaging degenerative disk disease, can readily demonstrate disk pathology, degenerative endplate changes, facet and ligamentous hypertrophic changes, and the sequelae of instability. Its role in terms of predicting natural history of low back pain, identifying causality, or offering prognostic information is unclear. As available modalities for imaging the spine have progressed from radiography, myelography, and computed tomography to MR imaging, there have also been advances in spine surgery for degenerative disk disease. These advances are described in a temporal context for historical purposes with a focus on MR imaging’s history and current state.


Magnetic resonance imaging Degenerative disk disease 


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© ISS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Neuroradiology, Imaging Institute, Neuroradiology L-10Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Division of Neuroradiology, Imaging Institute, Neurological Institute T-13Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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