There are limited data detailing the pattern of age and gender-related changes to the thoracic vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. A retrospective MR investigation, involving Tl-weighted midsagittal images from 169 cases, was undertaken to examine age influences on the anterior wedge (anteroposterior height ratio or Ha/Hp), biconcavity (midposterior height ratio or Hm/Hp), and compression indices (posterior height/anteroposterior diameter or Hp/D) of the thoracic vertebral bodies. Disc degenerative changes in the annulus, nucleus, end-plate and disc margin were noted on T2-weighted sagittal images for the 169 cases, based on a 3-level grading system. A linear age-related decline in the Ha/Hp and Hm/Hp indices was noted. The Hp/D index increased during the first few decades of life, then decreased gradually thereafter. The prevalence of abnormal findings in the annuli, nuclei and disc margins increased with increasing age particularly in the mid and lower thoracic discs. Greater disc degenerative changes were observed in males. These findings provide further insight into the nature of thoracic vertebral shape changes across the lifespan, and the typical patterns of degeneration of the thoracic intervertebral discs.
|Journal||Journal of Anatomy|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|