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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Nov 1;25(21):2797-802.

Osseous anatomy of the lumbosacral spine in Marfan syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



This study examines pedicle widths, laminar thicknesses, and scalloping values for lumbosacral spine elements in Marfan volunteers. Comparisons were made between these measurements and norms as well as measurements between Marfan patients with and without dural ectasia.


To determine if the lumbosacral vertebral elements are altered in the patient with Marfan syndrome.


Several abnormalities have been noted in Marfan lumbar spine, including pedicular attenuation and widened interpediculate distances. This may be due to abnormalities of growth or presence of dural ectasia. Given the large numbers of Marfan patients requiring spinal surgery and the high postoperative failure rate, better understanding of the bony anatomy of Marfan lumbar spine is necessary, especially if use of instrumentation is anticipated.


Thirty-two volunteers with Marfan syndrome based on the Ghent criteria underwent spiral computed tomography of the lumbosacral spine. Images were evaluated for dural ectasia, and measurements of pedicle width, laminar thickness, and vertebral scalloping were made.


Pedicle widths and laminar thicknesses were significantly smaller in Marfan patients at all levels (P<0.001). Mean pedicle widths at L1-L3 were smaller than the smallest available pedicle screw (5 mm). In Marfan patients with dural ectasia, laminar thickness from L5-S2 and pedicle widths at all lumbar levels were significantly reduced (P<0.01). Vertebral scalloping at S1 was significantly greater in Marfan patients with dural ectasia (P = 0.02).


Lumbar pedicle width and laminar thickness are significantly reduced in Marfan individuals. Those with dural ectasia demonstrate increased bony erosion of anterior and posterior elements of lumbosacral spine. Preoperative planning and routine computed tomography scans are recommended when operating on Marfan lumbosacral spine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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