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Visual and quantitative assessment of lateral lumbar spinal canal stenosis with magnetic resonance imaging

BACKGROUND: Lateral lumbar spinal canal stenosis is a common etiology of lumbar radicular symptoms. Quantitative measurements have commonly demonstrated better repeatability than visual assessments. We are not aware of any studies examining the repeatability of quantitative assessment of the lateral canal. PURPOSE: To evaluate the repeatability of visual assessments and newly developed quantitative measurements of lateral lumbar spinal canal stenosis using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty-eight patients with lateral lumbar spinal canal stenosis or prior spinal surgery with recurrent symptoms were imaged with MRI. A radiologist, a neurosurgeon and a spine research trainee graded visually and quantitatively subarticular (n = 188) and foraminal zones (n = 260) of the lateral spinal canal. Quantitative measurements included the minimal subarticular width and the cross-sectional area of the foramen. RESULTS: The repeatability of visual assessment at the subarticular zone and foraminal zones between raters varied from 0.45-0.59 and 0.42-0.53, respectively. Similarly, the intraclass correlation coefficients for the quantitative measurements varied from 0.67-0.71 and 0.66-0.76, respectively. The intra-rater repeatability for the visual assessments of the subarticular and foraminal zones was 0.70 and 0.62, respectively, while the corresponding intraclass correlation coefficients for quantitative measurements were 0.83 and 0.81, respectively. CONCLUSION: Inter-rater repeatability of visual assessments of lateral stenosis is moderate, whereas quantitative measurements of both subarticular width and the cross-sectional area of the foramen have substantial reproducibility and may be particularly useful for longitudinal studies and research purposes. The clinical value of these parameters requires further study

Keywords : Adult,Aged,diagnosis,etiology,Humans,Longitudinal Studies,Lumbar Vertebrae,Magnetic Resonance Imaging,methods,Middle Aged,Observer Variation,pathology,Patients,Radiology,Reproducibility of Results,Spinal Canal,Spinal Stenosis,Spine,surgery,Universities,, Quantitative,Assessment,Lateral, zydol side effects

Date of Publication : 2011 Nov 1

Authors : Sipola P;Leinonen V;Niemelainen R;Aalto T;Vanninen R;Manninen H;Airaksinen O;Battie MC;

Organisation : University of Eastern Finland, School of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Radiology, Kuopio, Finland. petri.sipola@kuh.fi

Journal of Publication : Acta Radiol

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21969705

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