Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain

  • Nada R. Alharis college of Medicine/ Kufa University


Background: The relation between abnormalities in the lumbar spine and low back pain is controversial ,incidental findings might lead to additional testing & the potential for unnecessary intervention.
Objective: We examined the prevalence of abnormal findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the lumbar spine in people without back pain.
Patients& Methods : We performed MRI examinations on 200 asymptomatic people (130 females &70 males), ages range 20 -60 yers. We used the following standardized terms to classify the five intervertebral disks in the lumbosacral spine: normal, bulge, protrusion, and extrusion.
Results: Thirty two percent of the 200 asymptomatic subjects had normal disks at all levels. Forty eight percent of the subjects had a bulge at least one level, 23 percent had a protrusion, and 2 percent had an extrusion. Forty percent had an abnormality of more than one intervertebral disk. The prevalence of bulges & protrusions increased with age. Conclusions: On MRI examination of the lumbar spine, many people without back pain have disk bulges or protrusions but not extrusions. Clinical correlation is essential to determine the importance of disk abnormalities on magnetic resonance images.