L. Tugan Muftuler1, 2, Vance O. Gardner3, Hon J. Yu4, Dennis J. Maiman1
1Department of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, United States; 2Center for Imaging Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, United States; 3Orthopaedic Education and Research Institute of Southern California, Orange, CA, United States; 4Radiology, University of California, Orange, CA, United States
In this study we used a multi-parametric MRI protocol to study pathophysiology and etiology of lumbar disc degeneration. We proposed a new quantitative metric that utilized a combination of ADC and T2 signals from the discs to assess the degree of disc degeneration. Using this new metric, we demonstrated close associations between disc degeneration, age and poor nutrient delivery to discs. We also showed quantitatively for the first time that inferior lumbar discs are more prone to degeneration than superior discs.