Evaluation of the Relationship between Ligamentum Flavum Thickness and Degenerative Changes in Lumbar Spinal Canal in MRI
Author(s): Babak Shekarchi, Mohammad Momeni*
Background and Aims: Low back pain caused by degenerative diseases of the lumbosacral spinal canal and spinal canal stenosis is one of the major causes of disability and loss of one's efficiency. One of the abnormalities in the spinal canal structures is an increase in the thickness of ligamentum flavum. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between ligamentum flavum thickness and degenerative changes in the lumbar spinal canal in MRI.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional and descriptive-analytical study was conducted on 225 patients who had MRI due to low back pain. The images of the patients were examined in different sequences and the degenerative changes and the ligamentum flavum thickness were measured at L1 to L5 levels. Then, the relationship of the ligamentum flavum with the two variables of gender and age in two groups of patients with and without degenerative changes as well as the relationship between the ligamentum flavum thickness and degenerative changes were evaluated.
Results: A total of 225 patients (127 males and 98 females) with a mean age of 47.63 ± 14.19 years participated in this research. The results of statistical tests revealed that ligamentum flavum thickness, except for L1-2 and L2-3, had a direct and significant correlation with patients with spinal canal degenerative changes and the levels were directly and significantly correlated with the variable of age. However, no significant relationship was found between the ligamentum flavum thickness and gender. The statistics also confirmed that patients with spinal canal degeneration had significantly higher LF thickness.
Conclusion: Increased thickness of LF is associated with exacerbated aging and spinal canal degeneration.