Frequency of lumbar magnetic resonance imaging findings in patients with low back pain


  • Somayeh Zeynizadeh-Jeddi Department of Radiology, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran
  • Firouz Amani Department of Community Medicine, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran
  • Sahar Masoumi School of Medicine, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran



Disc protrusion, MRI, Back pain


Background: Back pain is one of the main causes of disability and has been the most common cause of disability in the last decade. MRI imaging is able to identify soft tissues, including the intervertebral disc, nerves, and muscles, that are potential sources of back pain; it should be noted, however, that in some cases MRI is not able to identify the source of low back pain.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was done on 256 patients who referred to the imaging ward of Ardabil city hospital for lumbar MRI from September 2020 and September 2021. These patients in terms of gender, age, type of insurance, disc dehydration, disc protrusion, disc extrusion, disc sequestration, disc dehydration, spondylolisthesis, retrolysis, presence of Taylor cyst, hemangioma, vertebral fracture, spinal abnormality, spinal abnormality Bone marrow SG, spinal canal stenosis, furaminal stenosis, modic changes and the presence of scoliosis were evaluated.

Results: The mean age of patients was 45.10 with a standard deviation of 14.28 years. 152 patients (59.4%) were male. 240 patients (93.7%) had health insurance.55 patients (21.5%) had normal MRI. The most common MRI findings in the present study were: extrusion (67.6%), intervertebral disc dehydration (59.4%), protrusion (40.2%), spinal canal stenosis (29.7%) furaminal stenosis (24.2%), retrolysis (19.5%), lumbar scoliosis (14.7%), modic changes in the lumbar vertebrae (14.5%), scoliosis (13.7%), hemangioma (10.5%), spondylolisthesis (9.4%), sequestration (3.1%), spinal abnormalities (2%) and bone marrow SG (1.6%).

Conclusions: Based on the results, the most common abnormal findings in MRI of patients with low back pain were: extrusion, protrusion and dehydration of the intervertebral disc. Also, most of these changes were in the lower levels of the lumbar vertebrae.


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