A study of computer-assisted tomography. I. The incidence of positive CAT scans in an asymptomatic group of patients

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1984 Sep;9(6):549-51.


In order to study the type and number of CAT scan abnormalities of the lumbar spine that occur in asymptomatic people, 52 studies from a control population with no history of back trouble were mixed randomly with six scans from patients with surgically proven spinal disease, and all were interpreted by three neuroradiologists in a blinded fashion. Irrespective of age, 35.4% (26.6%, 51.0%, and 31.3%) were found to be abnormal. Spinal disease was identified in an average of 19.5% (23.8%, 22.7%, and 12.5%) of the under 40-year-olds, and it was a herniated nucleus pulposus in every instance. In the over 40-year-old age group, there was an average of 50% (29.2%, 81.5%, and 48.1%) abnormal findings, with diagnoses of herniated disc, facet degeneration, and stenosis occurring most frequently.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*