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Imaging Factors that Distinguish Between Patients with Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy with Mild to Moderate Cervical Spinal Cord Compression

Jun Ming Cao, Jing Tao Zhang, Da Long Yang, Yi Peng Yang, He Huan Xia, Liu Yang

Department of Orthopedics, The Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:4901-4908

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.906937

Available online:

Published: 2017-10-13

BACKGROUND: Not all patients with spinal cord compression due to cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) have clinical symptoms and signs. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the imaging findings in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with CSM with mild to moderate cervical spinal cord compression.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective clinical study included 68 patients. Group A (n=30) had no symptoms and signs; group B (n=38) had symptoms and signs of cervical myelopathy. The age, sex, body mass index (BMI), history of steroid treatment, duration of symptoms, number of spondylotic cervical segments, Torg ratio, range of motion (ROM), incidence of cervical segmental instability, overall curvature of the cervical spine, direction of spinal cord compression, and spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal intensity were compared.
RESULTS: For groups A and B, the Torg ratio was 90.3% and 83.6% (P<0.05), the incidence of cervical segmental instability was 23.3% and 65.8% (P<0.05), and the incidence of a spinal cord high intensity signal was 13.3% and 86.9% (P<0.05). Logistic regression analysis showed myelopathy as a dependent variable, independently associated with cervical segmental instability (OR=5.898, P=0.037), an MRI T2-weighted intramedullary high signal (OR=9.718, P=0.002), and Torg ratio (OR=0.155, P=0.006).
CONCLUSIONS: Cervical segmental instability, a high intramedullary signal on T2-weighted MRI, and the Torg ratio had the greatest capacity to distinguish between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with CSM with mild to moderate cervical spinal cord compression.

Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Spinal Cord Compression, Spinal Cord Diseases, Spine