Lumbar disc and facet degeneration: Correlation with age and facet orientation
Objectives: The influence of age on orientation of the facet joint remains controversial. We aimed to examine facet joint degeneration, orientation and their relationships with disc degeneration in a group of patients in different age groups. Patients and Methods: The study included 106 patients with low back pain and/or leg symptoms who had undergone magnetic resonance imaging of L1-S1 lumbar segments. For evaluation of osteoarthritis of the facet joints grading described by Weishaupt et al. and for evaluation of disc degenerations grading by Pfirmann et al. were used. Results: Orientation of the facet joints were similar among age groups. Age was not correlated with facet joint orientation. Facet joint orientation was not correlated with facet or disc degeneration in neither female nor male patients. Age was positively correlated with facet degeneration at all spinal levels. At all levels except L3-4 level, facet joint degeneration was more prominent in male subjects. Conclusion: This study have demonstrated that facet joint orientation is similar among different age groups. The finding of greater prevalence and degree of facet arthrosis in men at all lumbar levels is in accordance with some recent studies. Our study supported the notion that disc degeneration precedes facet arthrosis. © Medical Journal of Trakya University. Published by Ekin Medical Publishing. All rights reserved.