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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 11 | Pages 1533 - 1537
1 Nov 2013
Farshad M Aichmair A Hughes AP Herzog RJ Farshad-Amacker NA

The purpose of this study was to devise a simple but reliable radiological method of identifying a lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LSTV) with a solid bony bridge on sagittal MRI, which could then be applied to a lateral radiograph.

The vertical mid-vertebral angle (VMVA) and the vertical anterior vertebral angle (VAVA) of the three most caudal segments of the lumbar spine were measured on MRI and/or on a lateral radiograph in 92 patients with a LSTV and 94 controls, and the differences per segment (Diff-VMVA and Diff-VAVA) were calculated. The Diff-VMVA of the two most caudal vertebrae was significantly higher in the control group (25° (sd 8) than in patients with a LSTV (type 2a+b: 16° (sd 9), type 3a+b: -9° (sd 10), type 4: -5° (sd 7); p < 0.001). A Diff-VMVA of ≤ +10° identified a LSTV with a solid bony bridge (type 3+4) with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 89% on MRI and a sensitivity of 94% and a specificity of 74% on a lateral radiograph. A sensitivity of 100% could be achieved with a cut-off value of 28° for the Diff-VAVA, but with a lower specificity (76%) on MRI than with Diff-VMVA.

Using this simple method (Diff-VMVA ≤ +10°), solid bony bridging of the posterior elements of a LSTV, and therefore the first adjacent mobile segment, can be easily identified without the need for additional imaging.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1533–7.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 7 | Pages 966 - 971
1 Jul 2013
Pumberger M Froemel D Aichmair A Hughes AP Sama AA Cammisa FP Girardi FP

The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical predictors of surgical outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). We reviewed a consecutive series of 248 patients (71 women and 177 men) with CSM who had undergone surgery at our institution between January 2000 and October 2010. Their mean age was 59.0 years (16 to 86). Medical records, office notes, and operative reports were reviewed for data collection. Special attention was focused on pre-operative duration and severity as well as post-operative persistence of myelopathic symptoms. Disease severity was graded according to the Nurick classification.

Our multivariate logistic regression model indicated that Nurick grade 2 CSM patients have the highest chance of complete symptom resolution (p < 0.001) and improvement to normal gait (p = 0.004) following surgery. Patients who did not improve after surgery had longer duration of myelopathic symptoms than those who did improve post-operatively (17.85 months (1 to 101) vs 11.21 months (1 to 69); p = 0.002). More advanced Nurick grades were not associated with a longer duration of symptoms (p = 0.906).

Our data suggest that patients with Nurick grade 2 CSM are most likely to improve from surgery. The duration of myelopathic symptoms does not have an association with disease severity but is an independent prognostic indicator of surgical outcome.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:966–71.