A retrospective case–control study.
Investigating the correlation between the facet tropism (FT) and subaxial cervical disc herniation (CDH).
Summary of Background Data.
Although debatable, it was widely reported that FT was associated with lumbar disc herniation. However, the exact correlation between FT and subaxial CDH is still unclear.
Two-hundred patients with any disc herniation at C3/4, C4/5, C5/6, or C6/7 and 50 normal participants without CDH (normal control group) were included in this study. For patients, the cervical levels with CDH and the levels without herniation were classified into the “herniation group” and “patient control group,” respectively. Bilateral facet joint angles at C3/4, C4/5, C5/6, and C6/7 on sagittal, axial, and coronal planes were measured on computed tomography (CT). The disc degeneration at each level was assessed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Both the mean difference between left and right facet angles and tropism incidence in herniation group were significantly greater than those in two control groups whenever at C3/4, C4/5, C5/6, or C6/7 level and whenever on sagittal, axial, or coronal plane. The mean differences of angles and tropism incidences in most patient control groups were not significantly greater than those of corresponding normal control groups. The incidence of greater facet angle at the left or right side was not significantly different among the left, central, and right herniation groups. The mean disc degeneration grades in both herniation and patient control groups were significantly higher than those in normal control groups while no difference between herniation and patient control groups.
The FT on the sagittal, axial, and coronal planes are all associated with CDH in the subaxial cervical spine. The greater facet angle at the left or right side does not affect the side of herniation. The severity of cervical disc degeneration is not associated with FT.
Level of Evidence: 3