Weishi Liang, Bo Han, Yong Hai, Peng Yin, Yuxiang Chen, Congying Zou

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 818 - 828 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06556-8

First Online: 03 August 2020


This study aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of the diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with fiber tracking in patients with compressed lumbosacral nerve roots.


A systematic literature search of databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science) was carried out. FA values and ADC values were compared between compressed nerve roots and healthy controls. Pooled and subgroup analyses were performed using fixed or random-effect models based on I2 heterogeneity.


A total of 262 patients from ten studies with 285 compressed lumbosacral nerve roots and 285 contralateral normal nerve roots were included in the meta-analysis. It was showed in pooled results that FA value was significantly reduced (SMD  − 3.03, 95% CI [ − 3.75 to  − 2.31], P 


This study showed that FA value reduction and ADC value increase were valuable indicators of compressed lumbosacral nerve roots. These changes may be related to the neurological symptoms of patients. DTI with fiber tracking can directly visualize and accurately locate the compression zone of nerve roots to help make surgical treatment plans, is more advanced than conventional MRI.

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