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Missed Lumbar Disc Herniations Diagnosed With Kinetic Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Zou, Jun, MD*; Yang, Huilin, MD, PhD*; Miyazaki, Masashi, MD; Wei, Feng, MD, PhD; Hong, Soon W., MD; Yoon, Seung H., MD; Morishita, Yuichiro, MD; Wang, Jeffrey C., MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181657f7e

Study Design. A novel dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, kinetic MRI (kMRI), was used to study lumbar disc herniations.

Objective. The objective of this study was to determine if adding flexion and extension MRI studies to the traditional neutral views would be beneficial in the diagnosis of lumbar disc herniations.

Summary of Background Data. Prior studies demonstrate that only 70% of patients with lumbar disc herniations based on physical examinations are confirmed by MRI studies. Recently, kMRI delivers the ability to scan patients in neutral, flexion, and extension positions, which may allow for improved diagnosis of this problem.

Methods. Five hundred fifty-three patients underwent kMRI with assessment of the degree of disc bulge in neutral and flexion and extension. The images were analyzed using computer measurement technology to objectively quantify the amount of disc herniation.

Results. For patients with normal or <3 mm of disc bulge in neutral, 19.46% demonstrated an increase in herniation to >3 mm bulge in extension, and 15.29% demonstrated an increase to >3 mm bulge in flexion. For patients in the neutral view that had a baseline disc bulge of 3 to 5 mm, 13.28% had increased herniations to >5 mm in extension and 8.47% had increased herniations to >5 mm in flexion. For patients with a baseline disc bulge of 5 to 7 mm in neutral, 10.58% increased in extension and 5.78% increased in flexion. In addition, for patients with a baseline disc bulge of 7 to 9 mm in neutral, 9.09% increased in extension and 4.55% increased in flexion.

Conclusion. A significant increase in the degree of lumbar disc herniation was found by examining flexion and extension views when compared with neutral views alone. kMRI views provide valuable added information, especially in situations where symptomatic radiculopathy is present without any abnormalities demonstrated on conventional MRI.

Kinetic MRI (kMRI) delivers the ability to scan patients in neutral, flexion, and extension positions. Five hundred fifty-three patients with back pain underwent it with assessment of the degree of disc bulge in the different views. In this study, we found kMRI could improve detection of missed lumbar disc herniations.

From the *Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China; and †Department of Orthopedic Surgery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.

Acknowledgment date: August 30, 2007. Revision date: October 20 2007. Acceptance date: November 1, 2007.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jeffrey C. Wang, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095; E-mail: jwang@mednet

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.