Hengrui Chang, Xianda Gao, Xiangyu Li, Ruoyu Zhao, Wenyuan Ding

May 2022, pp 1 - 9 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07259-y

First Online: 21 May 2022


It has not been determined which factors were related to multilevel lumbar disc degeneration (MLDD). The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of MLDD among symptomatic patients using the magnetic resonance imaging method. The study also aimed to clarify the associations between MLDD and suspected risk factors through a multivariate model.


A total of 530 young and middle-aged patients, suffered from low back pain were retrospectively assessed by 2 independent observers, who used sagittal T2-weighted MR imaging. Subjects were divided into two groups, MLDD group and non-MLDD group, according to the number of degenerated discs. Demographic and radiological data included age, gender, weight, height, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol drinking, lumbar lordosis, presence of hypertension (HT), diabetes mellitus and anemia.


There were 309 men and 221 women with an average age of 37.5  ±  8.5 years. In general, 37.7% of patients were diagnosed with disc degeneration (DD) at more than two levels. Triple level DD was the most common pattern and was more prevalent in women (p 


Despite the young age of this cohort, MLDD is common among patients with low back pain. A significant independent association exists between age, HT, anemia and multilevel disc degeneration in the lumbar region.

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