Spinal Epidural Lipomatosis: A Common Imaging Feature in Scheuermann Disease.

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Retrospective study.

To find out if spinal epidural lipomatosis (SEL) occurs more commonly among patients with Scheuermann disease than in the general population. SUMMARY AND

On the basis of our own radiologic and operative observation, SEL seems to occur frequently in patients with Scheuermann disease.

Magnetic resonance imaging of 87 individuals (72% male, average age 19±6 y) from 2 centers (29 consecutive patients with Scheuermann disease and 58 controls) were retrospectively evaluated by 2 neuroradiologists. Spinal epidural fat (EF) at seventh thoracic vertebra (EF7), maximum EF (EFmax), dural sac diameter at T7 and at the level of maximum EF (DS7 and DSmax) were measured. EF ratios at T7 (EFR7) and at maximum EF (EFRmax) were calculated as EF/DS. Body mass index (BMI) for study population and kyphosis severity for the patients were recorded. Mann-Whitney, Spearman correlation, and χ tests were performed dependent on the variable in question.

EF7, DS7, EFmax, EFR7, and EFRmax was significantly higher among patients with Scheuermann disease (EFmax 5.7±2.4 mm) than among controls (EFmax 3.8±1.1 mm), P<0.001. Twelve patients with Scheuermann disease (41%) fulfilled our proposed criteria for the diagnosis of SEL (EFmax>6 mm+EFRmax>0.51) compared with 2 (3%) among controls (P<0.001). Patients with Scheuermann disease exhibited higher BMI than controls (24.9±5 kg/m vs. 22.9±4 kg/m, P=0.138). Logistic regression showed that the occurrence of SEL among patients with Scheuermann disease was independent of BMI (P=0.880). The degree of kyphosis in patients with Scheuermann's disease (62±20°) was correlated to the amount of the EF.

As SEL occurs more frequently among patients with Scheuermann disease, spine magnetic resonance imaging should be routinely performed to screen each of these patients to avoid impending neurological injury during surgery, especially in those exhibiting SEL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-361
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

Free keywords

  • spinal epidural lipomatosis
  • scheuermann disease
  • epidural fat ratio
  • body mass index
  • pathogenesis
  • MRI


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