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The Yield of Lumbosacral Spine MRI in Patients with Isolated Chronic Low Back Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Kanaan T, Alisi M, Anasweh Y, Yousef N T, Al-Sabbagh Q, Hadidi F, Al-Shudifat AR

Received 25 June 2020

Accepted for publication 3 August 2020

Published 15 September 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 139—143


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Clark Hung

Tareq Kanaan,1 Mohammed Alisi,2 Yara Anasweh,3 Noor Yousef,2 Qussay Al-Sabbagh,1 Fadi Hadidi,2 Abdul Rahman Al-Shudifat1

1Department of Special Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan; 2Department of Special Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan; 3Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan

Correspondence: Mohammed Alisi
School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Queen Rania Al Abdullah St 266 Al Jubaiha, Amman 11942, Jordan
Tel +962790983284

Background: The role of routine lumbosacral MRI in patients presented with isolated chronic low back pain (CLBP) is still unclear. Most patients with CLBP will show diverting degenerative changes on MRI. As it is uncertain whether surgical treatment of degenerative MRI changes results in alleviation of back pain or not, the necessity of doing a diagnostic lumbosacral MRI remains questionable. This study aimed to evaluate the yield of lumbosacral MRI among Jordanian patients presented with isolated CLBP.
Methods: We reviewed medical records of all patients who presented to neurosurgery outpatient clinic at Jordan University Hospital from December 2016 to December 2019. Only patients with a chief complaint of isolated CLBP were included. We obtained the relevant data from the computerized medical files and detailed radiological findings from their MRI reports.
Results: One hundred and sixty-seven patients (167) matched the inclusion criteria. We reported positive findings in MRI in 112 patients (67%), but 55 patients (32.93%) had normal MRI findings. Dehydration of intervertebral disc was the most common finding. Positive MRI findings were most evident in the middle-age group (41– 60 years old). Disc protrusion finding in middle-aged females was significantly less prevalent than males (P = 0.012).
Conclusion: Jordanian patients presented with CLBP have similar worldwide patterns of lumbar degenerative changes. Providing that near one-third of patients with CLBP have normal MRI findings, we suggest following a streamlined protocol for imaging of patients presented with CLBP to reduce healthcare costs.

Keywords: chronic low back pain, MRI findings, degenerative changes

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