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Early Modic Changes in Paediatric Low Back Pain Patients – ISSLS Prize Winner


Goal of the Study?

Low back pain is the number one disabling condition in the world. In 1988, eight years after the first clinical MRI was conducted in Scotland by Francis Smith MD,  Michael Modic MD identified unique MRI findings associated with the endplates of vertebrae. These findings were explored further in an ISSLS prize-winning clinical science manuscript from the European Spine Journal 20221 seeking to look at earlier stages of these Modic changes and the epidemiology along with associated risk factors in a paediatric population.

Why are they doing this study?

The study’s primary purpose is to learn more about the prevalence of Modic changes in the younger population and whether these individuals, with these changes, were more common in those with low back pain.

Modic model helping demonstrate MRI findings to patients

Modic Model by Dynamic Disc Designs


What was done?

Two hundred and seven younger (mean age 16.5yrs old) patients with MRI, in consecutive order, were analyzed for Modic changes (4 types) along with any other endplate abnormalities. 


What did they find?

This was the first study to identify a high number of endplate findings, in particular Modic changes, in this younger population. Previous dogma did not include the idea that Modic changes existed in the younger population and was thought to be only seen in the elderly populations. This research challenges that concept and provides robust evidence that endplate disruptions do exist in the paediatric population.


Why do these findings matter?

Because LBP is such a large problem on the planet, early identification and phenotyping of degenerative disc issues can help in the greater understanding of low back pain trajectories over a lifetime in the spirit of possibly curtailing the end stages of lumbar spinal stenosis. Specifically, the authors of this paper concluded that understanding juvenile endplate changes more clearly, could possibly assist in more personalized therapeutics to avoid low back pain. 


At Dynamic Disc Designs Corp we create realistic anatomical models to help in the discussions of back pain education.

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