The purpose of this study was to evaluate the morphological changes of intervertebral discs (IVD) and vertebral bodies (VB) in AIS girls according to the subgroups with different curve severity by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This study included 33 age-matched female controls and 76 AIS girls with a right-sided thoracic curvature. Wedge angle, height ratio and distance ratio of VB and IVD were measured on the best midline coronal and sagittal planes from reformatted MRI spine. Volumes of VB, IVD and nucleus pulposus (NP) were evaluated on volumetric images. One-way ANOVA with Bonferroni correction was used. There was significant difference in wedge angle and height ratio of VB and IVD between AIS and controls. In severe-AIS, the position of NP was significantly shifted to the convexity when compared with non-severe AIS and controls. Whereas, the volume of IVD and NP in severe-AIS was found to be significantly smaller. On top of coronal wedging of VB and IVD, there was significantly reduced volume of IVD and NP in severe-AIS patients, despite T2 signal of IVD was preserved. The current findings indicate that early mechanical effects on the discs and vertebrae in adolescent scoliotic spine is evident on quantitative imaging. Importantly, these patients may be vulnerable to disc degeneration if no operative treatment is prescribed.
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