Magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography of the lumbar multifidus muscle. Comparison of two different modalities

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1995 Jan 1;20(1):54-8. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199501000-00010.


Study design: An operator-blinded dual modality trial of measurement of lumbar multifidus muscle cross-sectional area was performed.

Objective: To compare two imaging modalities used for measurement of the lumbar multifidus muscle.

Methods: Ten normal female subjects aged 21-31 years were imaged on two separate days using magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound imaging. Bilateral measurements were made at each vertebral level from L2-S1.

Results: No significant difference was demonstrated between cross-sectional area measurements made with the two different modalities. Measurements of multifidus were symmetrical between left and right sides of the spine. For both modalities, a significant difference was demonstrated in the cross-sectional area of multifidus between each vertebral level from L2-S1.

Conclusions: The present study indicated that if a strict protocol for ultrasound imaging is adhered to, real-time ultrasound imaging can be used to document muscle size in young adults. Further studies are required to validate the technique in older subjects and in different conditions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reference Values
  • Ultrasonography