Morphometric Study of Lumbar Intervertebral Discs in a Tertiary Care Centre in Central India

Author(s): Sonali Rajesh Agichani1, Subhash D. Joshi2, Sharda Subhash Joshi3

The intervertebral disc (IVD) is the primary load-bearing structure in the vertebral
column. It is avascular, has low metabolic rate and hence most vulnerable to
damage. One of the most important causes of low back pain is the disc lesions.
Hence, the present study was done to provide morphometric data of lumbar
intervertebral discs in central Indians.
Anterior and posterior heights of lumbar intervertebral discs were measured in (a)
10 cadavers by digital vernier calipers; (b) 120 normal, lateral view digital
radiographs divided in three age groups in both the sexes, digitally.
Average heights of lumbar intervertebral discs were recorded as follows:
(a) Average anterior height, measured in centimeters, was:
In cadavers, L1/2-0.7922, L2/3-0.9139, L3/4-1.0611, L4/5-1.2569, and L5/S1-
1.2565 cms.
On digital radiographs, L1/2-1.023, L2/3-1.262, L3/4-1.433, L4/5-1.691, L5/S1-
1.763 cms.
(b) Average posterior height, measured in centimeters, was:
In cadavers, L1/2-0.4624, L2/3-0.4925, L3/4-0.5872, L4/5-0.6546, and L5/S1-
On digital radiographs, L1/2-0.78475, L2/3-0.875917, L3/4-0.900083, L4/5-
0.92375, and L5/S1-0.795 cms.
Average anterior heights are more than posterior heights. Average anterior and
posterior heights increase from L1/2 upto L4/5, then decrease at L5/S1. But in
digital radiographs, average anterior height increases from L1/2 to L5/S1. The
difference in measurements of average anterior heights of L1/2 disc is found to be
statistically significant with respect to age. Gender difference is statistically
significant at different disc levels in different age groups. The present study will
help to generate baseline data to detect abnormality and to make population
specific prosthesis for treatment of disc lesions.