Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Musculoskeletal Imaging - Original Article

Postoperative lumbar spine: modified radiographic projections for detection of bone defects in cadavers


Department of Radiology, E-Da Hospital and I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Province of China


Department of Orthopedics, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile


Departments of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA


Departments o Orthopedics, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA


Departments of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

Diagn Interv Radiol 2009; 15: 193-199
Read: 604 Downloads: 483 Published: 03 September 2019


Special radiographic projections were evaluated in two cadaveric specimens for depicting postoperative changes after five different lower lumbar surgical procedures. Available literature concerning special radiographic projections of the lumbar spine is limited. The objective of this study was to establish a special radiographic projection that is useful for depicting postoperative changes after lumbar surgical procedures.


Five different procedures were performed on two cadaveric lumbar spines: laminotomy, total laminectomy, foraminotomy, surgical creation of pars interarticularis defect, and partial facetectomy. A series of radiographs, including routine views and combinations of various obliquity and cephalad angulation, were obtained preoperatively and after each operation. Film analysis was done using a four-point rating system to document the degree of visualization of the postsurgical bone defect at each stage of surgery at each lumbar segment. The best projections were determined by summation of the rating scores of the three lumbar segments. The scores of each projection in different procedures were also summed to determine the best view for clinical use.


The laminotomy defects were more obvious on the shallow-obliquity and low-angulation radiographs. The postoperative changes of total laminectomy were almost equally identified on the AP and lateral views and most of the compound views. The bone changes of foraminotomy were best identified on the 45º routine view. The 30º-15º and 45º-15º compound views were best for depicting a postoperative pars defect. None of the projections delineated the bone changes of partial facetectomy. The 30º-15º compound view had the highest summation of rating scores of the five surgical procedures.


The results of this study suggest that the 30º-15º compound view could be useful for the assessment of the postoperative lumbar spine. Further verification of its value requires a large clinical study.

EISSN 1305-3612