Role of magnetic resonance imaging in determination of sciatic nerve compression in patients with backache and sciatica

Muhammad Sohaib Shahid


Background: Sciatic pain is low backache and pain radiating in the territory of sciatic nerve roots. It causes numbness, tingling, hot, cold sensations and hypersensitivity through the sciatic nerve pathway. There are many causes of sciatica. Aim of the study was to determine the most common cause of sciatic nerve compression using MRI in patients with backache and sciatica.

Material & Methods: Ninety-Eight (98) patients presenting with backache and sciatica that may be unilateral or bilateral .Magnetic Resonance Imaging was the modality of choice to determine the most common cause responsible for sciatic nerve compression. The study design that had been adopted was observational descriptive study. The data was taken from the Radiology Department of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore from 1st august 2012 to 31th January 2013.

Results:  The results shown that 97 (99%) patients had disc prolapse out of which 76 (76.8%) patients had Disc Bulges, 9 (9.1%) had Disc Protrusions whereas 12 (12.1%) had Disc Extrusions whereas it is absent in 1 (1%) patient. Spondylosis was found in 14 (14.1%) patients, Spinal stenosis in 27 (27.3%), Degenerative disease in 23 (23.2%), Thickened Ligamentum flavum in 14 (14.1%), Osteophytes formation in 13 (13.1), Spinal Tumor in 6 (6.1%), Infectious Spine disease in 1 (1%) and other causes in 10 patients (Spondylolisthesis in 5 (5.1%); Retrolisthesis in 1 (1%); Straightening of lumbar curve in 19 (19.2%) ; Tarlov Cyst in 3 (3%); limbus vertebra 1 (1%)). The mean age of female patients were 42.38 ± 12.172 years and male patients were 45.13 ± 13.751 years.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the disc prolapse is the most common pathology responsible for the compression of sciatic nerve compression using MRI where as in disc prolapse disc bulge is the most common pathology than disc protrusion and disc herniation.

Keywords: Sciatica, Intervertebral Disc, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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