Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis: correlation with Oswestry Disability Index and MR Imaging
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Because neither the degree of constriction of the spinal canal considered to be symptomatic for lumbar spinal stenosis nor the relationship between the clinical appearance and the degree of a radiologically verified constriction is clear, a correlation of patient’s disability level and radiographic constriction of the lumbar spinal canal is of interest. The aim of this study was to establish a relationship between the degree of radiologically established anatomical stenosis and the severity of self-assessed Oswestry Disability Index in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis. Sixty-three consecutive patients with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis who were scheduled for elective surgery were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent preoperative magnetic resonance imaging and completed a self-assessment Oswestry Disability Index questionnaire. Quantitative image evaluation for lumbar spinal stenosis included the dural sac cross-sectional area, and qualitative evaluation of the lateral recess and foraminal stenosis were also performed. Every patient subsequently answered the national translation of the Oswestry Disability Index questionnaire and the percentage disability was calculated. Statistical analysis of the data was performed to seek a relationship between radiological stenosis and percentage disability recorded by the Oswestry Disability Index. Upon radiological assessment, 27 of the 63 patients evaluated had severe and 33 patients had moderate central dural sac stenosis; 11 had grade 3 and 27 had grade 2 nerve root compromise in the lateral recess; 22 had grade 3 and 37 had grade 2 foraminal stenosis. On the basis of the percentage disability score, of the 63 patients, 10 patients demonstrated mild disability, 13 patients moderate disability, 25 patients severe disability, 12 patients were crippled and three patients were bedridden. Radiologically, eight patients with severe central stenosis and nine patients with moderate lateral stenosis demonstrated only minimal disability on percentage Oswestry Disability Index scores. Statistical evaluation of central and lateral radiological stenosis versus Oswestry Disability Index percentage scores showed no significant correlation. In conclusion, lumbar spinal stenosis remains a clinico-radiological syndrome, and both the clinical picture and the magnetic resonance imaging findings are important when evaluating and discussing surgery with patients having this diagnosis. MR imaging has to be used to determine the levels to be decompressed.
KeywordsSpine, abnormalities Spine, MR Lumbar spinal stenosis Oswestry Disability Index
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