North American Spine Society Annual Meeting
North American Spine Society Annual Meeting
December 05, 2014
1 min read

Prevalence of abnormal MRI findings of cervical spine increased with age

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ORLANDO, Fla. — As asymptomatic individuals aged, their rate of cervical spine abnormalities increased, according study results presented at the Cervical Spine Research Society Annual Meeting, here.

Hiroaki Nakashima, MD, of Nagoya, Japan, said the rate of abnormal MRI findings in the cervical spinal increases greatly with age and warned of the dangers of predictive operative decisions based on diagnostic tests without correlated MRI findings.

“Greater decision making should be prudent when correlating MRI findings with signs and symptoms,” he said.

According to Nakashima, the 1,211 healthy volunteers enrolled in the study included at least 100 men and 100 women in each decade of age between 20 years and 70 years old. The investigators performed MRI scans with a 1.5-Tesla superconductive magnet and scans of the sagittal and axial planes has slice thicknesses 3 mm and 4 mm, respectively. Two spine surgeons also performed neurological examinations on all the subjects.

Nakashima and colleagues recorded any spinal cord compression, disc bulging and changes in the spinal cord signals seen and then compared the frequency of these abnormal findings between the groups of individuals who were older and younger than 40 years old.

They found that a disc bulging was the abnormality found most frequently in the patients studied, which occurred in about 87.6% of patients (1,061 patients).

According to Nakamura, spinal cord compression was seen in about 5.3% of patients (64 patients.

The study results showed high signal intensity changes in T2 sagittal images in 2.3% of individuals (28 patients) and 0.2% of them were younger than 40 years old, while 3.3% of them were older than 40 years old.

Nakamura said the cervical spinal abnormalities in asymptomatic patients identified by MRI findings were significantly greater in adults greater than 40 years old with a P value of < 0.05. – by Robert Linnehan


Nakashima H. Paper #2. Presented at: Cervical Spine Research Society Annual Meeting; Dec. 4-6, 2014; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Nakashima has no relevant financial disclosures.