Asian Spine J.  2010 Dec;4(2):65-70. 10.4184/asj.2010.4.2.65.

Asymptomatic Cervical or Thoracic Lesions in Elderly Patients who Have Undergone Decompressive Lumbar Surgery for Stenosis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hyundae Hospital, Namyangju, Korea. ponticuli@naver.com
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Hyundae Hospital, Namyangju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Neurosurgery, Wooridul Spine Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective study. PURPOSE
To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of asymptomatic cervical or thoracic lesions in elderly patients who have undergone surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Concurrent multiple spinal lesions have been reported in many studies with a varied prevalence, and described the characteristics of the disease and its treatment options. However, the cervical or thoracic lesions without apparent symptoms in patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis had not been evaluated.
METHODS
A total of 101 elderly patients (aged 65 or more), who had undergone surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis from January 2005 to December 2005, were enrolled in this study. All patients underwent lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along with T2-weighted cervical and thoracic sagittal MRI prior to surgery. The concurrent cervical or thoracic lesions were classified according to the disease entity, and the severity of the lesions was graded from grade 0 (no lesion) to grade 4 (any lesion compressing the cord with a signal change). The prevalence of concurrent cervical and thoracic lesions was then analyzed. In addition, the risk factors for the development of concurrent lesions were evaluated, and the risk factors affecting the severity of the concurrent lesion were analyzed individually.
RESULTS
Seventy-seven (76.2%) and 30 (29.7%) patients had a concurrent cervical and thoracic lesion, respectively. Twenty-six patients (25.7%) had both a cervical and thoracic lesion. There was a positive correlation between the symptom duration of lumbar stenosis and the prevalence of both cervical (p = 0.044) and thoracic (p = 0.022) lesions.
CONCLUSIONS
The incidence of asymptomatic cervical or thoracic lesions is apparently high in elderly patients who have undergone surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis, particularly in those with longer symptom duration. This highlights the need for a preoperative evaluation of the cervical and thoracic spine in these patients.

Keyword

Asymptomatic; Concurrent; Cervical; Thoracic; Lumbar stenosis; Aged
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