Correlation between lower spine malformations and herniated discs in children — 7 key facts

Written by Allison Sobczak | December 02, 2015 | Print  |

A recent study published in the journal Neurosurgery shows children and teens with herniated discs are much more likely to have some kind of lower spine malformation.

Here are seven key facts from that study:


1. The study was conducted by Zhongjun Liu, MD, along with some of his colleagues at the Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing, China.


2. Researchers analyzed the X-rays of 63 patients under the age of 20 with lumbar disc herniation. The patients were 37 males and 26 females with an average age of 17 years, and all required surgery for severe, disabling back pain that didn't respond to other treatments.


3. In nearly all the patients, X-rays showed at least one type of malformation involving the lumbar spine and sacrum. According to Dr. Liu and the researchers, only three cases were completely absent of malformations.


4. Patients with a "high" pelvis were most likely to have herniation of the disc between the two lowest lumbar vertebrae, while the patients with a "low" pelvis were more likely to have herniation of the disc between the lumbar spine and sacrum.


5. In 36 patients, surgery consisted only of removal of the damaged portion of the disc (discectomy). Twenty-seven patients also underwent fusion (arthrodesis) of the involved vertebrae.


6. For all the patients, surgery led to significant reduction in back pain and disability, and outcomes were similar for both discectomy alone and discectomy with arthrodesis.


7. Results suggest that surgery on the disc alone, without spinal fusion, is more likely to be effective in young patients with low back pain from herniated discs than surgeries with the additional spinal fusion.


More articles on spine:
Dr. Anne Normand joins Beverly Hospital: 3 notes
How repetitive scoliosis procedures affect young patients psychologically: 6 key notes
Can this tool predict complication risks for spine surgery? 5 key notes

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