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Classification of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration in Low Back Pain Using Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging

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Document pages: 11 pages

Abstract: Degenerative disc disease is the most common cause of low back pain. Intervertebral disc abnormalities are commonly evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Pfirrmann’s system involves the use of T2-weighted images (T2WI) to classify disc degeneration. However, as this classification is based on visual evaluation, it is not possible to quantify degeneration using this method. The present study was performed to establish an MRI-based intervertebral disc classification system using diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI), to quantify intervertebral disc water content according to the Pfirrmann classification. Sagittal mean diffusional kurtosis (MK) mapping was performed for the L3 4, L4 5, and L5 S1 intervertebral discs in 32 patients (15 female, 17 male; age range, 24 - 82 years; mean age, 57.7 years). The degree of disc degeneration was assessed in the midsagittal section on T2WI according to the Pfirrmann classification (grade I - V). The relationships between MK values, which are correlated with intervertebral disc composition changes, and grade of degeneration determined using the Pfirrmann classification were analyzed. The MK values tended to decrease with increasing grade of degeneration, and differed significantly between grades I and IV, but not between grade IV and V (P

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