Spondylolysis and Beyond: Value of SPECT/CT in Evaluation of Low Back Pain in Children and Young Adults

Andrew T Trout, Susan E Sharp, Christopher G Anton, Michael J Gelfand, Charles T Mehlman
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2015, 35 (3): 819-34
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) is ideally suited for assessment of low back pain in children and young adults. Spondylolysis is one of the most common structural causes of low back pain and is readily identified and characterized in terms of its chronicity and likelihood to heal. The value of SPECT/CT extends to identification and characterization of other causes of low back pain, including abnormalities of the posterior elements, developing vertebral endplate, transverse processes, and sacrum and sacroiliac joint. Some of the disease processes that are identifiable at SPECT/CT are similar to those that occur in adults (eg, facet hypertrophy) but may be accelerated in young patients by high-level athletic activities. Other processes (eg, limbus vertebrae) are more unique to children, related to injury of the developing spine. The authors review the spectrum of pars interarticularis abnormalities with emphasis on the imaging features of causes of pediatric low back pain other than spondylolysis.

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