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Chiropractic Research Review

Evaluating Disc Degeneration: Quantitative Discomanometry vs. MRI

Collapse of an endplate-disc-endplate complex is a characteristic feature of disc degeneration. Several diagnostic techniques have been proposed for evaluating the integrity of the endplate-disc-endplate complex, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and quantitative discomanometry (QD); however, previous research investigating their utility has produced conflicting results.

This study evaluated disc degeneration in three human cadaveric spines (19 total discs) using MRI and QD.

Spines were scanned with MRI, then read by a neuroradiologist. For QD analysis, discs were injected with saline, and pressure-volume curves were quantified based on six parameters: intrinsic pressure, leakage pressure, initial slope, slope from 0.0 to 0.1 mL, maximum pressure, and volume at maximum pressure.

Results: QD scores correlated well with MRI scores. These correlations were consistent for degenerative discs and normal discs in the lumbar spine. The authors conclude, The quantitative discomanometry technique may allow better understanding of the functional integrity of the endplate-disc-endplate complex.

Southern EP, Fye MA, Panjabi MM, et al. Disc degeneration: a human cadaveric study correlating magnetic resonance imaging and quantitative discomanometry. Spine 2000:25(17), pp2171-75.

Chiropractic Research Review

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