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Hypertrophic change of facet joint in the cervical spine

Koichiro Morishita, Yuichi Kasai, Atsumasa Uchida

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(2): CR62-64

ID: 734751

Available online: 2008-01-29

Published: 2008-01-29

Background: There have been few studies on degenerative changes of the cervical facet joint. This study was conducted to examine the image and clinical characteristics of patients with cervical facet hypertrophy and the significance of such characteristics.
Material and Method: The subjects were 215 patients with degenerative disease of the cervical spine, and they were divided into a hypertrophic change (+) group (32 patients) and a hypertrophic change (-) group (183 patients). We defined that if the distance between the tangential line on the posterior border of the vertebral body and the tip of the superior articular process was 7 mm or over by CT, it was regarded as hypertrophic change (+). Data was analyzed using Fisher's exact test, and differences were considered significant at p<0.05.
Results: The level at which hypertrophic change of the facet joint was observed was C3/4 in eight patients, C4/5 in 14, C5/6 in six, C6/7 in one, C3/4 + C4/5 in one, and C4/5 + C5/6 in two. Of the 32 patients in the hypertrophic change (+) group, 30 had an unilateral hypertrophic change. There was a significantly (p<0.05) greater proportion (28 of 32 patients, 87.5%) of males in the hypertrophic change (+) group than in the hypertrophic change (-) group, and neck pain was observed significantly more frequently in the hypertrophic change (+) group (25 of 32 patients, 78.1%).
Conclusions: The results showed that hypertrophic change of the facet joint occurred at mid-level of the cervical spine, usually unilaterally, was more frequent in males, and was associated with neck pain.

Keywords: Spinal Diseases - radiography, Radiculopathy - radiography, Ossification of Posterior Longitudinal Ligament - radiography, Intervertebral Disc Displacement - radiography, Hyperostosis - radiography, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Cervical Vertebrae - radiography, Aged, 80 and over, Adult