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Association between lumbosacral transitional vertebrae and spinal pathologies based on T2 whole-spine sagittal magnetic resonance imaging



To assess the association between 4, 5, or 6 lumbar spine vertebrae and the presence of lumbar spinal pathologies.


We reviewed all MRI reports and images performed between August 1st, 2018 and July 31st, 2019. Lumbar spine pathologies such as disc herniation, lytic spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis were recorded. The reviewer studied the T2 sagittal screening of the entire spine and counted down manually from C2 to T12 on the assumption that there are seven cervical and twelve dorsal vertebrae. We then recorded whether there were four, five, or six lumbar vertebrae.


Our work incorporated a total of 1985 patients for whom T2-weighted entire spine sagittal MR images were obtainable. The study cohort’s average age was 52.2 ± 15.9 years, comprising 944 males and 1041 females. One hundred and thirty-three patients (6.7%) had 4 lumbar-type vertebrae; 1799 (90.6%) had 5 lumbar-type vertebrae; and 53 (2.7%) had 6 lumbar-type vertebrae. There was a statistically significant difference between the rates of 6 lumbar-type vertebrae in males versus females (p < 0.05). There was a statistically significant difference with more spinal stenosis patients in the 6 lumbar-type vertebrae compared to the 4 or 5 lumbar-type vertebrae groups (p < 0.001).


Our study shows that spinal stenosis is significantly more common in patients with 6 lumbar-type vertebrae.

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Correspondence to Yossi Smorgick.

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Rabau, O., Smorgick, Y., Tal, S. et al. Association between lumbosacral transitional vertebrae and spinal pathologies based on T2 whole-spine sagittal magnetic resonance imaging. Skeletal Radiol 50, 2503–2508 (2021).

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