Hemispherical spondylosclerosis--a polyetiologic syndrome

Skeletal Radiol. 1981;7(2):99-106. doi: 10.1007/BF00347373.


Radiologic examination of 43 patients revealed 47 lesions of a type which we have termed hemispherical spondylosclerosis (HSS). This term describes and includes the following essential and possible radiologic findings of the disease: 1) Hemispherical (or "dome-" or "helmet-shaped") sclerosis of the vertebra above the intervertebral disk. Thus it is a supradiscal HSS. 2) One or more small erosions of the inferior end plate of the vertebra involved. 3) Periosteal apposition on the anterior border of the vertebra along the length of the sclerosis. 4) New bone formation on the inferior end plate. 5) Anterior vertebral osteophytes. 6) Narrowing of the disk space below the affected vertebra. HSS occurs not only as a sequel of degenerative disk disease, but also in bacterial (tuberculous and non-tuberculous) spondylitis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoid osteoma, and metastases of neoplasms. The differential diagnosis between inflammatory and noninflammatory pathogenesis and etiology of HSS is described. The characteristic shape of HSS, its sites of predilection (14 greater than L5 greater than L3), and the preponderance of female sufferers from this painful condition are due to factors which, as yet, remain unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / complications
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Sclerosis
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / complications