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RSNA: Pediatric Back Pain Linked to Lumbar Disc Disease

Last Updated: December 02, 2009.

In children presenting with non-traumatic back pain, lumbar disc disease is prevalent, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In children presenting with non-traumatic back pain, lumbar disc disease is prevalent, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago.

Judah Burns, M.D., of the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues retrospectively reviewed 602 lumbar spine MRI examinations performed in patients age 12 to 20 years over a four-year period, and assessed them for the following inclusion criteria: presence of lumbar disc disease, presence of multi-level disease, nature of disc disease (one or more of: disc desiccation, disc space narrowing, disc protrusion, disc bulge), facet joint disease, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.

Of the 189 patients who met the criteria, the researchers found that 95 (50 percent) had lumbar disc disease, 88 (47 percent) had no MRI evidence of lumbar disc disease, and that the remaining 3 percent had non-disc related abnormalities. Among the 81 patients for whom body mass index data was available, they found that MRI evidence of lumbar disc disease was significantly more common among those in the highest quartile (72 percent) than among those with a lower body mass index (29 percent).

"There is a high incidence of MR abnormalities of the lumbar spine in children presenting with back pain," the researchers conclude. "There is a strong relationship between increased body mass index in the pediatric population and the incidence of lumbar disc disease."

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