Dynamic Disc Designs
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Model

MRI Displayed Differences in Patterns of Lumbar Disc Degeneration in Degenerative Disc Disease and Disc Prolapse

Due to the differences between Degenerative Disc Disease and Disc Prolapse not being well-known, with regards to patterns of Lumbar Disc Degeneration, a study 1 was conducted to find some answers. The study shared results (it suggested) would help with better disc degeneration-related treatments.

Why was it Conducted?

According to the current study, there a lot of inconclusiveness in the field of lumbar disc degeneration. This is particularly true when focusing on lumbar disc degeneration’s pathogenesis, prevention, management, etiology, and symptomatology. DDD (degenerative disc disease) and DP (disc prolapse) are two of the common ailments that affect lumbar discs. While these two ailments do manifest differently (in a clinical sense), numerous studies tend to include both and thus, have led to varying observations.

The current study was conducted to better evaluate the possible link between DP and DDD. The objective was to analyze lumbar disc degeneration patterns in patients with acute DP and those with chronic back pain and DDD.

The Study

This was a prospective, magnetic resonance imaging-based radiological study. Two groups of participants (aged between 20 to 50 years) were studied. Group 1 was made of 91 participants that required a single level microdiscectomy for acute DP. 133 Participants with chronic low back pain and DDD were part of Group 2. The study assessed discs by MRI through Pfirmann grading, Schmorl nodes, Modic changes, and the total end-plate damage score for all the five lumbar discs.

What were the Results?

The study’s results showed there were significant differences between DDD and DP patients with regards to the extent, number, and severity of degeneration. A significantly higher number of degeneration discs were analyzed in DDD patients compared to DP patients. The DDD group also showed a higher incidence of multilevel and pan-lumbar degeneration. The DP patients had lower lumbar degeneration while it was upper lumbar involvement in the DDD group. Modic changes were also observed to be more common in DP patients. Furthermore, both groups showed a positive correlation for the total end-plate damage score with disc degeneration.

What does it Mean?

The results of the study suggested that patients with DP as well as the ones with back pain and DDD were radiologically and clinically different groups. They varied when it came to the severity, pattern, and extent of disc degeneration. Understanding the differences between the two groups of patients could help with future studies when dealing with disc degeneration.