Science In Brief

Chiropractic Literature Review


The Study: Radiological analysis for thoracolumbar disc herniation in spinopelvic sagittal alignment: A retrospective study                  

The Facts:

  1. The authors wished to study the difference of the sagittal alignment between patients with lower lumbar disc herniations (LLD) as compared to those patients with thoracolumbar disc herniation (TLD).
  2. They looked at 185 patients.
  3. 26 of those suffered from thoracolumbar disc herniations and 129 had lower lumbar disc herniations.
  4. There was also a normal group with 30 asymptomatic subjects.
  5. The authors indicate that it is widely accepted by spine surgeons that sagittal balance is important to the management of spinal problems.
  6. In this study each subject received full spine radiographs.
  7. The study looked at; lumbar lordosis (LL), thoracic kyphosis (TK), pelvic incidence (PI), sacral slope (SS) lumbar disc herniations (LLD) and thoracolumbar disc herniation (TLD).
  8. The author concluded that, "patients with TLD have higher LL, lower TK, TK/LL, and TK+LL+PI than LLD patients. We inferred that high LL combined with low TK may be the prospective factors of TLD."


Take Home:

This article sheds some light on the shape of spines that may be more disposed to having thoracolumbar disc herniation. Increased lumbar lordosis in the presence of reduced thoracic kyphosis may predispose patients to risk of thoraco lumbar disc herniation.

Reviewer's Comments:

I think it is encouraging that there is apparently continued interest in the concept that spinal alignment can be important. This article is yet another in a string of articles that we have reported on which associates spinal alignment to symptoms or particular problems. The literature appears to bring forth this concept from many different authors interested in many different facets of this problem.

Reviewer: Roger Coleman DC

Editor’s Comments: “If we don’t X-ray, if we don’t measure, then we don’t know.”


Source- Mark R. Payne, Editor Science In Brief, Notorious Self Quoter. ;-)


Reference: Wang T, Ma L, Yang DL, Wang H, Zhang D, Zhang YZ, Ding WY. Radiological analysis for thoracolumbar disc herniation in spinopelvic sagittal alignment: A retrospective study. Medicine (Baltimore) 2017 Apr;96(14):e6593. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006593.

Link to Abstract:

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