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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Ossification process and lumbar spine morphology in the prenatal period

Alicja Kędzia, Marcin Czyż

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(9): BR343-350

ID: 13186


Background:Developmental abnormalities are the causes of numerous pathologies affecting the lumbar segment of the vertebral column. The aim of our study was metrologic assessment and analysis of lumbar vertebral column angioarchitecture during fetal life with particular emphasis on the description of vasculature of ossification centers of vertebral arches and bodies.Material/Methods:The study was carried out on 30 fetuses with crown-rump length range of 31–180 mm. Vasculature of the ossification centers was studied using Pickworth’s method and computed image analysis techniques in Imtron and Scion for Windows 2001 systems. The analysis involved the use of filters, binarization, linear and non-linear transformations. The assessment of morphology of lumbar spine structural elements was based on detailed measurements and statistical analysis of results.The study was carried out on 30 fetuses with crown-rump length range of 31–180 mm. Vasculature of the ossification centers was studied using Pickworth’s method and computed image analysis techniques in Imtron and Scion for Windows 2001 systems. The analysis involved the use of filters, binarization, linear and non-linear transformations. The assessment of morphology of lumbar spine structural elements was based on detailed measurements and statistical analysis of results.Results:The analysis of vascular system of the ossification centers revealed the presence of numerous sinuses of various morphology. Their long axes were oriented in accordance with the directions of growth. The vasculature of the vertebral arch and body centers was characterized by a laminar structure. Centrally located sinuses and arteriovenous plexuses were covered by disseminated complexes of small blood vessels forming a cortex. The ossification centers were usually supplied with blood from other sources than cartilaginous elements. The analysis of metrological data demonstrated a marked domination of the L2 vertebra.Conclusions:Ossification of the lumbar vertebral column occurs in one rostro-caudal direction, The vasculature of the centers adjusts its morphology to the growth directions and not tendencies characterizing the object. The ossification process is characterized by marked autonomy and specific regulation mechanisms.

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