Serial MRI in the early postoperative period after lumbar discectomy

Mårten Annertz, Bo Jönsson, Björn Strömqvist, Stig Holtås

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to determine MRI findings in patients successfully operated upon for lumbar disc herniation. We investigated 20 patients with a successful outcome after L4-5 or L5-S1 disc operations clinically and with MRI preoperatively, and at 5 days, 6 weeks, and 4 months after surgery. Postoperatively, T1- and T2-weighted images were obtained. At 4 months gadolinium-enhanced images were added. Pronounced intraspinal MRI changes were seen during follow-up. Deformation of the dural sac was seen in 13 patients preoperatively, in 19 at 5 days after operation, in 15 at 6 weeks, and in 12 at 4 months. Nerve root involvement was seen in all cases both preoperatively and at 5 days after operation, in 17 at 6 weeks, and in 15 at 4 months. No correlation between symptoms or the straight leg raising test and the size or nature of the abnormal tissue in the spinal canal postoperatively could be demonstrated. It was concluded that early postoperative MRI after lumbar discectomy must be interpreted carefully, and that oedema and scar formation are probable reasons for difficulties in interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

Free keywords

  • Spine
  • Intervertebral discs
  • Surgery
  • MRI-Gadolinium


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