Home > Journals > Il Giornale Italiano di Radiologia Medica > Past Issues > Il Giornale Italiano di Radiologia Medica 2018 Gennaio-Febbraio;(5)1 > Il Giornale Italiano di Radiologia Medica 2018 Gennaio-Febbraio;5(1):88-93



Publication history
Cite this article as


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Medical Radiology (SIRM)




Il Giornale Italiano di Radiologia Medica 2018 Gennaio-Febbraio;5(1):88-93

DOI: 10.23736/S2283-8376.17.00019-5


language: Italian

Role of fractional anisotropy in diffusion tensor imaging for evaluation of lumbar disc degeneration

Marco PERRI 1, Rosario F. BALZANO 2 , Teresa POPOLIZIO 1, Roberto IZZO 3, Daniela GRASSO 1, Anna SIMEONE 1, Giuseppe GUGLIELMI 1, 2

1 Dipartimento di Radiologia IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italia; 2 Dipartimento di Radiologia, Università di Foggia, Foggia, Italia; 3 Dipartimento di Neuroradiologia, Ospedale A. Cardarelli, Napoli, Italia


BACKGROUND: To evaluate manifestations of degenerative lumbar disc disease comparing diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) according to the recommendations of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology task forces on lumbar disc nomenclature.
METHODS: Seventy-five patients (mean age 42.3±3.2 SD), 20 healthy volunteers and 55 patients with known disc pathology (16 protrusions, 19 extrusion, 20 bulging discs), previously evaluated with a lumbosacral MRI examination, underwent an MRI scan (Siemens Aera 1.5 T) using DTI acquisitions. Axial scans were acquired with the following parameters: TR=2000 ms, TE=68.3 ms, thk=3 mm, matrix=288 x 160, FOV=30 x 30 cm, NEX=16, b value=800 s/mm2, 30 directions. DTI data were elaborated with Functool (AW4.3) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were calculated. A standard MRI protocol was also acquired (sagittal T2-w FSE and T2-w fat-sat, sagittal T1-w FSE, axial T2-w FSE). Two expert radiologists, double-blinded respect the previous MRI examinations and patients symptoms, evaluated DTI and MRI images both separately and in consensus according to the recommendations of American Task Force.
RESULTS: All 20 healthy volunteers did not show any significant alterations within the fibers of anulus fibrosus on both DTI and morphological MRI images (P>0.01). Twelve over 20 patients with bulging disc evaluated on conventional MRI showed annular tear on DTI and then were included as intra-annular herniation (P<0.01); ten over 19 patient with a protrusion on conventional MRI, did not show annular tears on DTI; then a total of 6 disc levels were better evaluated as bulging disc (P<0.01). All 16 patients with disc herniation showed annular tears on both DTI and MRI examinations (P>0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: DTI may non-invasively demonstrate the integrity of annular fibers adding more information to the conventional MRI protocol.

KEY WORDS: Anisotropy - Diffusion tensor imaging - Intervertebral disc degeneration

top of page

Publication History

Issue published online: February 27, 2018
Manoscritto accettato: 11 dicembre 2017
Manoscritto ricevuto: 5 dicembre 2017

Cite this article as

Perri M, Balzano RF, Popolizio T, Izzo R, Grasso D, Simeone A, et al. Ruolo dell’anisotropia frazionale nell’imaging del tensore di diffusione nella valutazione della patologia degenerativa del disco lombare. G Ital Radiol Med 2018;1:88-93. DOI: 10.23736/S2283-8376.17.00019-5

Corresponding author e-mail