Annals of African Surgery

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Developmental lumbar spinal canal stenosis and severity of radiculopathy

Muthuuri Jamlick


Background: The severity of radiculopathy is varied and may not concur with MRI findings. Large disc bulges may elicit fewer symptoms than smaller bulges. This was postulated to be due to the size of the canal.

Objective: To assess the severity of radiculopathy in individuals with developmental lumbar spinal canal stenosis (DLSS) and in those without.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey compared two groups: those with DLSS and those without. 597 participants were recruited and screened for DLSS, creating two groups: a group with DLSS and a group without. Severity and duration of symptoms were assessed with visual analogue scale, Oswestry Disability Index and duration of symptoms.

Results: Prevalence of DLSS in the study population was 19%. 90% of those with DLSS had radiculopathy with longer duration of symptoms (mean 20.8±21.8 months against 12.3±15.9 months, p<0.0001), higher ODI scores (32.9±15.2 against 17.2±16.5, p<0.0001), and a higher VAS score (5.1±2.9 vs 4.7±1.3, p=0.068).

Conclusions: Patients with DLSS have increased prevalence of radiculopathy and symptoms are more severe than in those without.

Keywords: Developmental, Lumbar spinal canal, Radiculopathy, Chronicity, Disability, Severity
AJOL African Journals Online