Imaging Spinal Stenosis

Kiran S. Talekar, MD; Mougnyan Cox, MD; Elana Smith, MD; Adam E. Flanders, MD


Appl Radiol. 2017;46(1) 

In This Article

Qualitative Diagnostic Criteria

The qualitative imaging findings in stenosis of the lumbar spine may be broadly classified into the specific causes of anatomic narrowing and their effect on neural elements. While this discussion of stenosis centers on the lumbar spine, the principles may also be applied to the cervical and thoracic regions. The main causes of spinal canal and neuroforaminal narrowing in the lumbar spine include disc herniation, facet hypertrophy, and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy/infolding. Additional causes of stenosis related to degenerative disease include synovial cysts, and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament.