August 9, 2010

Intervertebral Disc Calcification

Sagittal-reformatted CT image of the lower thoracic spine shows a central disc calcification. Several levels of endplate changes are noted as well.

Commonly Found in Elderly
  • Found in 80% of elderly cadavers in a large study
  • Mostly located in the periphery of the disc (annulus fibrosus), followed by central and diffuse
  • Mostly in lower thoracic spine, followed by midthoracic and lumbar spine
  • Increase in prevalence with increasing age
Differential Diagnosis
  • Degenerative disc
  • Postoperative, post-traumatic
  • Arthritis: ankylosing spondylitis, CPPD, gout
  • Metabolic disease: ochronosis, hemochromatosis, hypervitaminosis D

Chanchairujira K, Chung CB, Kim JY, et al. Intervertebral disk calcification of the spine in an elderly population: radiographic prevalence, location, and distribution and correlation with spinal degeneration. Radiology 2004;230:499-503.

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