Lumbosacral Transitional Vertebrae and Their Relationship With Lumbar Extradural Defects

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The relationship between herniated lumbar disc and abnormalities of the transverse process of the lumbosacral junction was investigated. Two hundred consecutive patients with positive myelographic findings of herniated lumbar disc were reviewed. Sixty patients presented abnormalities of the transverse process to satisfy the criteria for lumbosacral transitional vertebra. A new classification of lumbosacral transitional vertebra is presented based upon the morphologic and clinical characteristics with respect to herniated nucleus pulposus. Type I represents a “forme fruste” of lumbosacral transitional vertebra and shows no difference in the incidence of the location of herniations. In Types III and IV, there are no herniations at the level of the lumbosacral transitional vertebra and no increase in the incidence of herniations just proximal to the lumbosacral transitional vertebra. The Type II lumbosacral transitional vertebra presents herniated lumbar disc at the level of transition. It also presents a greater than normal incidence of herniations at the level just above the lumbosacral transitional vertebra.

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