Korean J Spine.  2017 Dec;14(4):148-154. 10.14245/kjs.2017.14.4.148.

Whole Spine Disc Degeneration Survey according to the Ages and Sex Using Pfirrmann Disc Degeneration Grades

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Guri Cham Teun Teun Hospital, Guri, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Inha University Hospital, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea. nsyoon@gmail.com

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
Pfirrmann disc grade is a useful scoring tool for evaluating disc degeneration, but normal values according to aging process has not been elucidated. This study was conducted to identify the prevalence and pattern of whole spine disc degeneration according to ages and gender differences.
METHODS
Total 653 patients (336 male and 317 female patients, 48.1±58.7 years old) who took whole spine magnetic resonance images were enrolled in this study. There were 19 cases in their 2nd decades and 74 cases in 3rd decades, 141 cases in 4th decades, 129 cases in 5th decades, 139 cases in 6th decades, and 93 cases in 7th decades, 58 cases in over 8th decades. Pfirrmann disc grades were measured according to sex and ages by 2 neurosurgeons that were blind to this study.
RESULTS
All spinal disc degeneration grades were correlated with ageing. The Pfirrmann disc grades of degeneration in all spine levels showed the statistically significant difference according to the ages (p < 0.001). The common Pfirrmann disc grades according to the ages were grade 3 among 2nd to 5th decades, and grade 4 was more common than 6th decades. The lower cervical level (C2-3 to C4-5) and lumbar level (L1-2 to L5-S1) were happened relatively early severe disc degeneration compared to other levels. The intersexual differences were increased after 6th decades.
CONCLUSION
Disc degeneration is natural course after one's 2nd decades. And its incidence and grade were increased with age, and more affected by sexual difference after 6th decades.

Keyword

Pfirrmann disc grades; Disc degeneration; Spine; Age; Decades

MeSH Terms

Aging
Female
Humans
Incidence
Intervertebral Disc Degeneration*
Male
Neurosurgeons
Prevalence
Reference Values
Spine*
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