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Measuring spinal canal size in lumbar spinal stenosis: description of method and preliminary results

Andrew Yuz, MD,1 Serik K. Makirov Ph.D,1 Valentin Osadchiy Ph.D2 

1Orthopedic Surgery, RMAPE, Moscow, Russia, 2National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), Moscow, Russia



Lumbar spinal stenosis is a pathological condition of the spinal channel with its concentric narrowing with presence of specific clinical syndrome. Absence of the clear unified radiological signs is the one of the basic problems of the lumbar spinal stenosis. 


The authors seek to create method of assessment of the spinal canal narrowing degree, based on anatomical aspects of lumbar spinal stenosis.

Study Design 

Development of diagnostic criteria based on analysis of a consecutive patients group and a control group.


Thirty seven patients (73 stenotic segments) with mean age 62,4 years old were involved in the study. Severity of clinical symptoms has been estimated by the measuring scales: Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Swiss Spinal Stenosis Questionnaire (SSQ). Mean number of the stenotic segments was 1.97. For all patients 8 radiological criteria have been measured. In the control group have been included 37 randomly selected patients (volunteers) in mean age of 53,4 years old without stenosis signs and narrowing of the spinal canal on the MRI imaging (73 segments total). Measurements were performed at the middle of intervertebral disc and facet joints level.


For description of the state of spinal canal we offer the coefficient: ratio of the lateral canals total area to the cross-sectional area of the dural sac ("coefficient of stenosis"). Comparison of mean values of "coefficient of stenosis" for main and control groups showed statistically significant differences (t = -12,5; р < 0.0001). Strong statistically significant correlation with the ODI and SSS scales was revealed for the obtained coefficient (p <0.05).


In our study new method of assessment of the spinal canal narrowing degree has been applied. Promising results have been obtained in a small group of patients. It is necessary to check the data on a large sample of recommendations for its clinical application.

Lumbar spinal stenosis, coefficient of stenosis, radiological criteria
Volume 9 Article 3