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J Med Assoc Thai. 2015 Apr;98(4):373-9.

Facet joint orientation and tropism in lumbar degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis.



Although degenerative disc disease (DDD) and degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) are two common causes of back pain in elderly, the association between the lumbarfacet joint angle and tropism in these conditions are still unclear.


To evaluate the difference in facet joint angles between normal population and lumbar degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis patient.


The angle of lumbar facet joints were retrospectively measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine whether there was a difference between degenerative diseases. MRI of patients with DDD, DS, and control group at facet joint between L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1 level were measured in axial view (60 subjects in each group).


There was no difference infacetjoint angle in DDD (44.1 ± 11.9) and control (45.6 ± 8.9), but differed in DS (40.1 ± 10. 7) and control group (p = 0.010) at L4-5 level. Facet tropism showed difference between degenerative groups and control group at L4-5 level.


DS group showed difference in facet joints angle and tropism when compared with control population, while DDD showed difference only in facet tropism. In addition, longitudinal studies are needed to understand the clinical significant between facet joint angle and tropism in spinal degenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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