Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 291–295 | Cite as

Variations in zygapophyseal joint orientation and level of transition at the thoracolumbar junction

Preliminary survey using computed tomography
  • K. P. Singer
  • P. D. Breidahl
  • R. E. Day
Radiological Anatomy

Summary

Variation in zygapophyseal joint orientation at the thoracolumbar transitional junction was investigated using computed tomography (CT). The study Population (N=214) comprised 176 cases of abdominal scans, 9 thoracolumbar junction referrals and 29 cadaveric vertebral columns. Scans through the superior endplates of T11, T12, L1 and L2 were selected and joint angles calculated using a computer aided digitiser. Analysis revealed 29 % of cases presented coronally orientated superior and sagitally orientated inferior joint Processes at T12. This pattern occurred in 16 % of cases at T11 and 0.5 % at L1. A gradual transition occurred in 54 % of cases and involved the adjacent inter-segmental Joints of T11 and T12. Articular tropism (>20°) was most frequent at T11-12 (21%), followed by T12–L1 (9 %).

Key words

Thoracolumbar transition Zygapophyseal joints Computed tomography Vertebral column Tropism 

Variations de l'orientation des articulations zygapophysaires et niveau transitionnel de la jonction thoraco-lombaire: étude préliminaire par tomographie computérisée

Résumé

La variation de l'orientation des articulations zygapophysaires a été explorée au niveau de la jonction transitionnelle thoraco-lombaire par tomographie computérisée (CT). L'effectif étudié (N=214) a comporté 176 tomodensitométries abdominales, 9 jonctions thoraco-lombaires de référence et 29 colonnes vertébrales cadavériques. Les coupes tomodensitométriques pratiquées au niveau des plateaux supérieurs de Th11, Th12, L1 et L2 ont été sélectionnées, et les angles articulaires ont été calculés par digitalisation assistée. L'analyse a révélé que dans 29 % des cas Th12 présentait des facettes crâniales d'orientation frontale et des facettes caudales d'orientation sagittale. Cette disposition a été retrouvée dans 16 % des cas en Th11 et dans 0,5 % en L1. Une transition progressive a été rencontrée dans 54 % des cas, impliquant les articulations intervertébrales adjacentes à Th11 et Th12. La déviation angulaire articulaire (>20°) a été plus souvent notée en Th11-Th12 (21%), puis en Th12-L1 (9 %).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. P. Singer
    • 1
  • P. D. Breidahl
    • 2
  • R. E. Day
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Human BiologyThe University of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia
  2. 2.Royal Perth HospitalPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Bioengineering, Medical Physics DepartmentRoyal Perth HospitalPerthAustralia

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