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Vertebral Canal Length Usually Shorter in Scoliosis

Monday, 03 November 2008 18:31
Idiopathic scoliosis involves a rotation of vertebral bodies toward the convexity of the curve. But how does this rotation affect the size and shape of the vertebral canal? To answer this question, researchers in Scotland measured the axial length of the vertebral canal and the anterior aspect of the vertebrae in 36 skeletons: 8 with normal spines, 13 with kyphosis, and 15 with probable idiopathic scoliosis.

Compared with vertebral length, the vertebral canal of skeletons with scoliosis was short.  "The results are consistent with a conceivable hypothesis that in some patients with idiopathic scoliosis, there may be impaired growth in the length of the spinal cord, the posterior elements are tethered, and as the vertebral bodies continue to grow, they become lordotic and then rotate," wrote the study's authors.

Porter RW   Idiopathic scoliosis: the relation between the vertebral canal and the vertebral bodies   Spine 2000 (Jun 1);   25 (11):   1360-1366