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Clin Orthop Surg. 2018 Mar;10(1):41-46. English. Original Article.
Kim BS , Moon MS , Yoon MG , Kim ST , Kim SJ , Kim MS , Kim DS .
Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, Cheju Halla General Hospital, Jeju, Korea.


Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is characterized by ossification of the enthesis. The diagnosis has been mainly based on the chest or whole spine lateral plain film. Recently, chest or thoracolumbar computed tomography (CT) has been reported to be more reliable for the diagnosis of DISH. The purposes of this study were to investigate the prevalence and location of DISH and evaluate the prevalence of comorbidities, such as ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) and ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF), using whole spine CT.


Whole spine CT scans of patients over 16 years of age who were examined at Cheju Halla General Hospital between February 2011 and December 2016 were reviewed for this study. The diagnosis of DISH was made according to the modified Resnick criteria. The prevalence of DISH in each age decade and its location were evaluated. Also, the prevalence of OPLL and OLF in DISH patients was investigated.


The overall incidence of DISH was 24.4% (40 of 164 cases). There was no case of DISH in patients in their 40s and younger. The percentile incidences of DISH in patients in their fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth decades were 20.0% (4 of 20 cases), 32.3% (10 of 31 cases), 40.0% (10 of 25 cases), 34.5% (10 of 29 cases), and 27.3% (6 of 22 cases), respectively. A strong positive correlation between the age decade and the incidence of DISH was noted (r = 0.853, p = 0.007). DISH patients had higher incidences of OLF (22.5%) and OPLL (37.5%). The most common location of DISH was the middle thoracic spine (90.0%) followed by the lower thoracic spine (87.5%). There was one case of DISH involving only the cervical spine.


The incidence of DISH diagnosed by CT was higher than we expected. Whole spine CT can be a valuable modality to evaluate the location of DISH in the cervical and lumbar spine and the comorbidity rates of OLF and OPLL.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.