Is lumbosacral transitional vertebra associated with lumbar disc herniation in patients with low back pain?

FİDAN F., BALABAN M., Hatipoğlu Ş. C., Veizi E.

European Spine Journal, vol.31, no.11, pp.2907-2912, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00586-022-07372-y
  • Journal Name: European Spine Journal
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.2907-2912
  • Keywords: Low back pain, Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae, Lumbar disc herniation, Intervertebral disc degeneration
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: To evaluate lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV) frequency in patients with low back pain and lumbar disc herniation (LDH) and to analyze correlations between LSTV presence and intervertebral disc degeneration. Methods: This retrospective study included patients with low back pain applying between January 2021 and August 2021. Inclusion criteria were age of 18–65, presence of a standing lumbosacral Xray and a lumbar MRI taken within 2 weeks of the indexed symptoms. Patients with a history of spondylolisthesis, spondylodiscitis, scoliosis and vertebral neoplasia were excluded. A total of 1821 patients met the inclusion criteria. Radiographs and MRIs were evaluated by 2 radiologists. Results: Of all patients, 61.4% were female and the mean age was 43.2 ± 12.2. LDH was detected in 57.7% of patients while a LSTV was present in 43.3%. Sacralization and LSTV were significantly different between the patients with and without an LDH. Patients with LSTV had a higher incidence of a LDH affecting 3 or more intervertebral disc levels (p < 0.001). There was a significant difference in-between LSTV and non-LSTV groups regarding the M1 and M2 intervertebral disc degeneration levels. Conclusion: A LDH is more common in the presence of a LSTV. Female sex is highly correlated with herniation. Three or more intervertebral disc levels are affected in the presence of an LSTV. Significantly higher degeneration incurs at the M1 and M2 intervertebral levels. Sacralization is a risk factors for a lumbar disc herniation.