ABSTRACT Background: Spinal instability, including lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS), mainly results from degeneration of intervertebral discs (IVD) and the facet joints (FJ). Characterization of the relationship between IVD degeneration in cases of lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS), and T2 values may be useful for accurate noninvasive evaluation and subsequent treatment. Thus, the goal of this study was to measure T2 values of IVDs in cases with (DS) and without (NS) spondylolisthesis, and to characterize changes of IVDs in DS. Methods: A total of 40 subjects who presented with L4 spondylolisthesis comprised the DS group. Another 40 subjects who did not have lumbar spondylolisthesis, constituted the NS group. T2 values of IVDs were measured and compared in these groups. Results: T2 values for IVDs tended to be lower in the DS group than in the NS group, and these values were significantly different (p < 0.01) within the anterior annulus fibrosus (AF). No significant differences in T2 values between Meyerding grades I and II were observed in any areas of IVDs. Conclusions: It is speculated that in the early stages, the degeneration of the anterior AF develops and is related to the onset of lumbar spondylolisthesis, while in later stages, degeneration of facet joints influences the progression of spondylolisthesis.
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