Discogenic lumbar pain: association with MR imaging and CT discography

Chae-Hun Lim, Won-Hee Jee, Byung Chul Son, Dong-Hyun Kim, Kee-Yong Ha, Chun-Kun Park
European Journal of Radiology 2005, 54 (3): 431-7

OBJECTIVE: To correlate MR and CT discography findings with pain response at provocative discography in patients with discogenic back pain.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-seven patients aged 25-54 years who underwent MR imaging and subsequent CT discography (97 discs) were included in this study. MR images were retrospectively evaluated regarding disc degeneration, endplate abnormalities, facet joint osteoarthritis, and high intensity zone. During discography concordant pain was regarded as positive, whereas discordant pain and no pain were regarded as negative. MR and CT discographic findings were analyzed on the base of concordant pain using the Chi-square test.

RESULTS: : Concordant pain was significantly common in the following (P < 0.05): grade 4 or 5 disc degeneration [88% (30/34) in concordant pain versus 48% (30/63) in discordant pain and no pain], high intensity zone [56% (19/34) versus 30% (19/63)], combination of above two findings [53% (18/34) versus 25% (16/63)], fissured and ruptured disc at discogram [94% (32/34) versus 57% (36/63)], and contrast beyond inner annulus at CT discogram [97% (33/34) versus 57% (36/63)].

CONCLUSION: Typical MR findings with concordant pain at discography include grade 4 or 5 disc degeneration and presence of a high intensity zone. Typical CT discography findings with concordant pain were fissured/ruptured discs and contrast extending into/beyond the outer annulus on CT.

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