Queenie Chan1,2, Marina-Portia Anthony2, Zhongping Zhang2, Kenneth MC Cheung3, Mina Kim2
1Philips Healthcare, Hong Kong, China; 2Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; 3Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Detecting early stages of disc degeneration is a major challenge in degenerative disc disease (DDD) as current diagnostic techniques are not sensitive or completely objective. Therefore, a quantitative assessment of disc degeneration would significantly improve the evaluation of DDD. In this study, we examined diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in human lumbar intervertebral discs (IVDs) to investigate changes in tissue microstructure. Our results show that fractional anisotropy can quantitatively assess 1) structural difference between a nucleus pulposus and an annulus fibrosus and 2) degenerative changes in IVDs, suggesting DTI may be a potential biomarker for DDD.