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Abstract #4468

Quantitative assessment of lumbar disc degeneration by non-Gaussian diffusion-weighted imaging

Masaki Katsura1,2, Yuichi Suzuki2, Akihiro Kasahara2, Harushi Mori1, Akira Kunimatsu1, Yoshitaka Masutani3, Masaaki Hori4, Shigeki Aoki4, and Kuni Ohtomo1

1Radiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, 2Radiology, The University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, 3Intelligent Systems, Graduate School of Information Sciences, Hiroshima City University, Hiroshima, Japan, 4Radiology, School of Medicine, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan

We performed q-space imaging(QSI) analyses for lumbar intervertebral discs(IVDs) in patients suffering from lower back pain with different stages of degeneration. We evaluated the correlation between the quantitative QSI measurements and the qualitative grading(Pfirrmann's scale) of disc degeneration. Our results suggest that the degenerative process of IVDs involves narrowing of the space for free water movement and a generally higher degree of microstructural complexity, in which we are unable to assess with conventional quantitative MR measurements. QSI may provide sensitive biomarkers for IVD degenerative microstructural changes and can potentially become a tool to allow characterization of various IVD pathologies.

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