Besides the study on examining facet joints of lumbar spine by ultrasound in normal population, there has not been any related report about examining normal facet joints of lumbar spine by ultrasound so far. This study was aimed to explore the feasibility of ultrasound assessment of lumber spine facet joints by comparing ultrasound measure values of normal and degenerative lumber spine facet joints, and by comparing measure values of ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) of degenerative lumber spine facet joints.
This study included 15 patients who had chronic low back pain because of degenerative change in lumbar vertebrae, and 19 volunteers who did not have low back pain or pain in the lower limb. The ultrasound measure values (height [H] and width [W]) of normal and degenerative lumber spine facet joints were compared. And the differentiation between measure values (H and W) of ultrasound and CT of degenerative lumber spine facet joints was also analyzed.
The ultrasound clearly showed abnormal facet joints lesion, which was characterized by hyperostosis on the edge of joints, bone destruction under joints, and thinner or thicker articular cartilage. There were significant differences between the ultrasound measure values of the normal (H: 1.26 ± 0.03 cm, W: 0.18 ± 0.01 cm) and abnormal facet joints (H: 1.43 ± 0.05 cm, W: 0.15 ± 0.02 cm) (all P < .05). However, there were no significant differences between the measure values of the ultrasound (H: 1.43 ± 0.17 cm, W: 0.15 ± 0.03 cm) and CT (H: 1.42 ± 0.16, W: 0.14 ± 0.03) of the degenerative lumber spine facet joints (all P > .05).
Ultrasound can clearly show the structure of facet joints of lumbar spine. It is precise and feasible to assess facet joints of lumbar spine by ultrasound. This study has important significance for the diagnosis of lumbar facet joint degeneration.