Assessment of ligamentum flavum thickness correlation with demographic variables and disc degeneration in Erbil governorate population sample
Background and objectives: This study aimed to investigate the correlation between the ligamentum flavum thickness and age, sex, body mass index and type of disc degeneration.
Method: 126 consecutive patients were examined prospectively. The sample included all the patients who had an MRI examination after they presented to Rizgary teaching hospital complaining of lower back and/or leg pain. The LF thickness was measured by using lumbo-sacral spine MRI.
Results: The mean thickness of LF was more at L4-L5 (right: 0.27mm, left 0.25mm), L5-S1 (right: 0.25 mm, left 0.25 mm) levels, and was thicker on the right side. LF was thicker in females than males with a statistically significant measurement at L2-L3, L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels. The mean thickness of LF was more at older age group than the younger age groups, and the results were statistically different at left side of L2-L3 and right side of L4-L5 level. Thickness of LF was more among those with higher BMI for all levels except for L5-S1. In most cases, LF was thicker in patients with advanced disc degeneration.
Conclusion: Thickening of the LF is associated to some extent with sex, age, BMI and disc degeneration. Thickening of the LF is potentially due to its buckling into the spinal canal secondary to disc degeneration more than to LF hypertrophy. Further research is needed to confirm these associations.
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