Document Type

Article

Department

Radiology

Abstract

Background Low back pain is a common condition and carries substantial socioeconomic implications. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the imaging modality of choice with lumbar neural foraminal stenosis being one of the most common causes of lower back pain syndromes. Studies have shown a lack of correlation between patients' severity of disability and radiologically determined nerve root constriction. Therefore, the goal of this study will be to determine the frequency of severity of disability in patients with severe (i.e., grade III) lumbar neural foraminal stenosis on MRI to ascertain the impact of MRI diagnosis on clinical outcomes. Materials and methods Two hundred fifty patients of either gender with a history of backache referred for MRI were included by purposive sampling. Of these 250 patients, 27 patients had grade II lumbar neural foraminal stenosis, and 21 had grade I neural foraminal stenosis on MRI and were excluded. Thirty-two patients had a spinal infection (e.g., tuberculosis), and 24 patients had a history of trauma. Further, 31 patients were having follow-up scans for previously diagnosed lumbar neural foraminal stenosis. Hence, after excluding these cases, 115 patients were enrolled in this cross-sectional study with grade III lumbar neural foraminal stenosis on MRI. Results The mean age was 51 years (range: 20 to 82 years). Most of the patients (55.6%) were older than 50 years. The most common site of grade III lumbar neural foraminal stenosis was L4-L5 (56.5%). According to the Oswestry disability index, 47 patients (40.9%) had a severe disability, 32 (27.8%) had a moderate disability, 16 (13.9%) were diabled, 14 (12.2%) had a mild disability, and six (5.2%) were bedridden. Conclusions While MRI is the imaging modality of choice in degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis, clinical disabilities can be more extensive than what radiological findings may indicate in approximately 40% of the cases. Therefore, lumbar spinal stenosis should be a neuro-radiological diagnosis, and surgical decisions should be based on clinical scenarios in addition to MRI findings.

Publication

Cureus

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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