• F. Postacchini
  • G. Cinotti


The frequency of a disease in a given population, or morbosity, is the ratio between the number of patients suffering from that condition and healthy subjects. The morbosity of a disease is calculated on the basis of its prevalence and incidence. Prevalence is estimated by cross-sectional studies, in which the frequency of the condition and related risk factors are evaluated only once. It, thus, represents the number of patients presenting a disease at the time of investigation. Incidence, instead, is assessed by longitudinal studies, in which the frequency of the condition is evaluated at two different times. Therefore, it represents the number of new cases of a condition occurring during a certain time interval. Assessment of the prevalence is less expensive and time-consuming than the evaluation of the incidence. However, the prevalence of a condition may not accurately reflect its frequency since it is affected by the duration of the disease. For instance, in patients with lumbar disc herniation, in whom periods with radicular symptoms may be alternated with painless periods, the assessment of the prevalence may lead to underestimation of the morbosity of the condition.


Intervertebral Disc Nucleus Pulposus Disc Herniation Disc Degeneration Lumbar Disc 
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  • F. Postacchini
  • G. Cinotti

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