European Spine Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1503–1509 | Cite as

Andersson lesion: are we misdiagnosing it? A retrospective study of clinico-radiological features and outcome of short segment fixation

  • Bharat R. Dave
  • Himanshu Ram
  • Ajay KrishnanEmail author
Original Article


This study reviews the presentation, etiology, imaging characteristics and reasons for missed diagnosis of Andersson lesion (AL) and analyzes the surgical results of short segment fixation in the thoracolumbar region. This is a retrospective single center study. Fourteen patients (15 lesions) who were operated for AL were analyzed. The study was designed in two parts. The first part consisted of analysis of clinical and radiological features (MRI and radiographs) to highlight, whether definitive characteristics exist. The second part consisted of analysis of outcome of short segment fixation as measured by VAS, Frankel score, AsQoL index, and union, with assessment of complications. The follow-up was 42.33 ± 19.29 months (13 males and 1 female) with a mean age of 61.13 ± 19.74 years. There was predisposing trauma in five patients. There was a delay in presentation of the patients by 5.86 ± 2.50 months. There was misdiagnosis in all the cases, at primary orthopedic level (ten cases were put on anti-tuberculous treatment due to its MRI resemblance to infection) and all but one case at radiologist level. Radiographs and MRI had characteristic features in all cases, and MRI could detect posterior element affection in 14 lesions as against only 8 posterior lesions detected in radiographs. In all patients, there was a patient’s delay and/or physician’s delay to arrive at a diagnosis. Spinal fusion was seen in all the cases. Outcome measures of VAS, Frankel score, and AsQoL index showed significant improvement (P < 0.002). No major complications occurred. There is a lack of awareness of AL leading to misdiagnosis. Definite clinico-radiological features do exist in AL and short segment fixation is effective.


Andersson lesion Ankylosing spondylitis Short segment Posterior fixation 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stavya Spine Hospital and Research InstituteAhmedabadIndia

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