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Morphometric analysis of the roots and neural foramina of the lumbar vertebrae


Tags: back pain, anatomy, pain problems, spine

Five articles on PainSci cite Torun 2006: (1) The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain(2) A Guide to Sciatica Treatment for Patients(3) Complete Guide to Low Back Pain(4) The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks(5) Nerve Pain Is Overdiagnosed

PainSci summary of Torun 2006: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

The holes between the vertebrae that the nerve roots pass through can be more than a couple centimetres wide, while the nerve roots themselves are only about 3-4mm thick.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: There have been few anatomic studies on the foramina and roots of the lumbar region, and those available in human specimens are usually based on computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging methods.

METHODS: Using the recent breakthroughs in microscopic anatomic dissections, the roots and vertebral foramina of the lumbar region were examined in 15 cadavers. Morphometric analysis of the roots and vertebral foramina of 80 lumbar vertebral objects was conducted.

RESULTS: The transverse and sagittal diameters of the lumbar intervertebral foramina were measured at each vertebral level. The median diameter of the lumbar neural foramina was 8.8 +/- 1.7 mm for the transverse and 19.4 +/- 2.7 mm for the sagittal planes. The widest median diameter of roots was 3.9 mm in the L4 root, and the narrowest was 3.3 mm in the L1 root.

CONCLUSION: Quantitative measurements of the diameters of the neural foramina and roots of the lumbar region in anatomic dissection models may provide a deeper understanding about the pathologies of this region and influence the success of surgical interventions.

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