Sohrab Virk, Milan Sandhu, Joshua Wright-Chisem, Avani Vaishnav, Todd Albert, Sheeraz A. Qureshi

April 2021, pp 1 - 8 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06832-1

First Online: 24 April 2021


There are data underlining the relationship between muscle health and spine related pathology, but little data regarding changes in paralumbar muscle associated with lumbar spondylolisthesis. We aimed to define changes in paralumbar muscle health associated with spondylolisthesis.


A retrospective review was performed on consecutive patients with lumbar spine pathology requiring an operation. A pre-operative lumbar MRI was analysed for muscle health measurements including lumbar indentation value (LIV), paralumbar cross-sectional area divided by body mass index (PL-CSA/BMI), and Goutallier classification of fatty atrophy. All measurements were taken from an axial slice of a T2-weighted image at lumbar disc spaces. Baseline health-related quality of life scores (HRQOLs), narcotic use and areas of stenosis were tracked. We performed Chi-square analyses and student’s t test to determine statistically significant differences between cohorts.


There were 307 patients (average age 56.1 ± 16.7 years, 141 females) included within our analysis. 112 patients had spondylolisthesis. There were no differences in baseline HRQOLs between the spondylolisthesis cohort (SC) and non-spondylolisthesis cohort (non-SC). There were significantly worse PL-CSA/BMI at L2-L3 (p = 0.03), L3-L4 (p = 0.04) and L4-L5 (p = 0.02) for the SC. Goutallier classification of paralumbar muscle was worse for SC at L1-L2 (p = 0.04) and at L4-L5 (p 


There are significant detrimental changes to paralumbar muscle health throughout the lumbar spine associated with spondylolisthesis.

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