Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 161, Issue 10, pp 2211–2222 | Cite as

Lower lumbar osteoporotic vertebral fractures with neurological symptoms might have two different pathogeneses according to early magnetic resonance images

  • Yosuke OishiEmail author
  • Eiichiro Nakamura
  • Masaaki Murase
  • Katsumi Doi
  • Yoshinori Takeuchi
  • Jun-ichi Hamawaki
  • Akinori Sakai
Original Article - Spine trauma
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Spine trauma



Most osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVFs) occur in the thoracolumbar area without neurological symptoms. The pathogenesis and clinical results of symptomatic lower lumbar OVFs have not been analysed. We aimed to retrospectively investigate the risk factors for the occurrence of neurological symptoms in patients with lower lumbar OVFs and to assess the clinical results of these symptoms using magnetic resonance (MR) images.


Of the 104 patients enrolled, 21% reported neurological symptoms. We divided OVFs with neurological symptoms into various types using early MR images and investigated the risk factors for each type. Clinical results of symptomatic patients were also evaluated.


Symptomatic patients with lower lumbar OVFs mainly had one of two fracture types, indicated by total low and superior/inferior low-intensity signals on T1-weighted images. A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that a smaller canal area and longer disease duration were risk factors for all patients. For patients with OVFs indicated by total low intensity, symptomatic patients had a significantly smaller canal area than non-symptomatic patients. For patients with OVFs indicated by superior/inferior low intensity, symptomatic patients had a significantly higher frequency of L4 and L5 vertebral fractures, longer disease duration, smaller canal area, smaller angle between the facets, and higher frequency of coexisting degenerative spondylolisthesis than non-symptomatic patients. Symptomatic patients with OVFs indicated by total low intensity had poorer clinical results regarding walking ability than symptomatic patients with OVFs indicated by superior/inferior low intensity.


Lower lumbar OVFs with neurological symptoms might have two different pathogeneses according to early MR images. Compared with symptomatic patients with OVFs indicated by superior/inferior low intensity, symptomatic patients with OVFs indicated by total low intensity may require different treatment strategies to avoid symptoms.


Osteoporotic vertebral fracture Lower lumbar spine Magnetic resonance imaging Neurological symptoms Lumbar canal stenosis Intervertebral instability 



We would like to thank Editage ( for English language editing.

Funding information

This work was supported in part by Japanese Orthopaedic Association Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (E.N.). The sponsor had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The ethics committee for human research at our hospital approved the study protocol, and informed consent to undergo an examination and operation was obtained from all patients. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHamawaki Orthopaedic HospitalHiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryUniversity of Occupational and Environmental HealthKitakyushuJapan

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