Prevalence of disc degeneration in asymptomatic Korean subjects. part 2: Cervical spine

Tae Hoon Lee, Sang Jin Kim, Soo Mee Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Similar to back pain, neck pain has recently shown to have increasing prevalence. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful in identifying the causes of neck pain. However, MRI shows not only pathological lesions but also physiological changes at the same time, and there are few Korean data. The authors have attempted to analyze the prevalence of disc degeneration in highly selective asymptomatic Korean subjects using MRI. Methods: We performed 3 T MRI sagittal scans from C2 to T1 on 102 asymptomatic subjects (50 men and 52 women) who visited our hospital between the ages of 14 and 82 years (mean age 46.3 years). All images were read independently by three observers (two neurosurgeons and one neuroradiologist) who were not given any information about the subjects. We classified grading for cervical disc herniation (HN), annular fissure (AF), and nucleus degeneration (ND), using disc degeneration classification. Results: The prevalence of HN, AF, and ND were 81.0%, 85.9%, and 95.4%, respectively. High prevalence of HN, AF, and ND was shown compared to previous literature. Conclusion: In asymptomatic Korean subjects, the abnormal findings of 3 T MRI showed a high prevalence in HN, AF, and ND. Several factors might play important roles in these results, such as population-specific characters, MRI field strength, and disc degeneration grading system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Korean Neurosurgical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cervical disc
  • Degeneration
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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