Magnetic Resonance Images of Herniated Disc Reliable

Morphology of lumbar disc herniation correctly interpreted from scan

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Readers of magnetic resonance images of intervertebral disc herniation are able to accurately and reliably assess disc morphology, according to a study published in the April 20 issue of Spine.

Jon D. Lurie, M.D., M.S., of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues conducted a study of 60 magnetic resonance images of intervertebral disc herniation that were rated by three radiologists and one orthopedic surgeon using defined criteria. Each reader re-evaluated a sample of 20 images at least a month after the first evaluation.

In terms of disc morphology, there was substantial interreader reliability, and there was moderate reliability for thecal sac compression and grading of nerve root impingement. Two other radiologists also took quantitative measurements, and these were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients, which were high for spinal canal and thecal canal cross-sectional areas and moderate for disc fragmentation area.

" The assessment of reliability is merely the first step in this process. The imaging characteristics in this study generally had moderate to substantial intra- and inter-reader reliability," the authors write. " Future studies should evaluate whether these features may have potential prognostic implications for the outcomes of surgery compared to nonoperative care in patients with IDH (intervertebral disc herniation)."

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