Relationship between foraminal area and degenerative changes in the lower cervical spine with implications for C5 nerve root palsy

Matthew V. Abola, Derrick M. Knapik, Anahid A. Hamparsumian, Randall E. Marcus, Raymond W. Liu, Zachary L. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Preoperative foraminal stenosis at C4/5 is a predisposing risk factor for C5 nerve root palsy in elderly patients. However, the area of the C4/5 intervertebral foramen and its relationship to the extent of arthrosis and lower foraminal areas (C5/6 and C6/7) are unknown. The authors sought to compare the areas of the cervical intervertebral foramen at the C4/5, C5/6, and C6/7 levels, noting any differences across race or sex and the relationship between foraminal area and arthrosis grade. A total of 600 cervical foramina from an osseous collection were examined. One hundred specimens between the ages of 60 and 80 years were selected, 50 from each sex and race (white and African American). Foramina were photographed bilaterally at C4/5, C5/6, and C6/7. Vertical height and mid-sagittal width were digitally measured. The degree of arthrosis within each intervertebral foramen was graded by 2 of the authors independently using the Kellgren–Lawrence grading system. Average age of death for specimens was 69.3±5.9 years. The mean foraminal areas at C4/5 (P=.001) and C5/6 (P<.001) were significantly smaller than at C6/7. Whites had larger foraminal areas than African Americans at C4/5 (P=.05) and C6/7 (P=.01). Arthrosis grade was found to make a significant contribution to foraminal area at C4/5 (standardized beta=-0.267; P<.001), but not at C5/6 or C6/7. A higher grade of arthrosis was associated with a narrower intervertebral foramen at the C4/5 level in osseous specimens from elderly individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e506-e510
JournalOrthopedics
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

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