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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 59-61

Sacralisation-changing concept


Department of Orthopaedics, N R S Medical College, Kolkata, India

Date of Submission26-Nov-2022
Date of Acceptance03-Dec-2022
Date of Web Publication24-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Kiran Kumar Mukhopadyay
Department of Orthopaedics, N R S Medical College, Kolkata
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijors.ijors_21_22

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  Abstract 

Low back pain is a common complaint among middle aged and elderly persons. There are many causes but one of it could be sacralisation of lumbar vertebra. Sacralisation means addition of sacral elements by the incorporation of the fifth lumbar vertebra. The incorporation of the fifth lumbar vertebra with the sacrum may be unilateral or bilateral producing partial or complete sacralisation. Sacralisation is commonly regarded as a cause of altered patterns of degenerative spine changes. This review will focus on whether sacralisation of the fifth lumbar vertebra is a radiological entity or a clinical entity.

Keywords: Nerve roots, sacralization, spondylolisthesis


How to cite this article:
Mukhopadyay KK. Sacralisation-changing concept. Int J Orthop Surg 2022;30:59-61

How to cite this URL:
Mukhopadyay KK. Sacralisation-changing concept. Int J Orthop Surg [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 9];30:59-61. Available from: https://www.ijos.in/text.asp?2022/30/2/59/365201




  Introduction Top


Low back pain is a common complaint among middle aged and elderly person. There are many causes but one of it could be sacralisation of the fifth lumbar vertebra on sacrum. The incorporation of the fifth lumbar vertebra with the sacrum may be unilateral or bilateral producing partial or complete sacralisation. Sacralisation is commonly regarded as a cause of altered patterns of degenerative spine changes. This review will focus on whether sacralisation of the fifth lumbar vertebra is a radiological entity or a clinical entity.


  Review of Literature Top


Mario Bertolotti (1917) described unilateral or bilateral enlargement of the transverse process of the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5), which may produce an articulation or get fused with the sacrum or ilium.[1] When L5 gets fused with S1(unilateral or bilateral), L5-S1 behaves as one unit (like a block vertebra). The L5-S1 disc does not take part in sharing load any more during movement. As a result, L4-L5 disc has to take more load and therefore subjected to more stress and disc degeneration sets in early. Loss of disc height results in increased facet pressure and the setting in of facet arthropathy. Thus, with the onset of degenerative disc disease, a degenerative cascade starts.

Castellvi et al.[2],[3] classified lumbo-sacral transitional vertebra (LSTV) in 1984 [Figure 1]. The prevalence of sacralisation varies widely in the spine literature from 3.9% to 35.6%. Matson et al. found the percentage of subgroups as follows—Type 1: 41.72%, Type II: 41.4%, Type III: 11.5%, Type IV: 5.2%.[4]
Figure 1: Classification of lumbo-sacral transitional vertebra (LSTV), proposed by Castellvi et al. in tabular form (A) and pictorial form (B)

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Khashoggi et al.[5] studied the prevalence among a total of 2078 patients who underwent kidney and urinary bladder (KUB) examinations and found sacralisation was present in 158 patients, while lumbarisation was present in 5 patients (3.2%). Among those, incomplete was 136 (86.3%) and complete was17 (10.7%).

Uçar et al.[6] studied 1843 female and 1764 male subjects and found 623 subjects as positive for sacralisation. The prevalence found was 17.2%, 276 (44.5%) women and 344 (55.5%) men.

A significant reduction of total muscle volume of paraspinal and trunk muscles was also seen in subjects with sacralisation. The reduction of bulk rectus abdominis, external oblique, and paraspinal muscles was studied with increased muscle degeneration.[7]

Pelvic incidence (PI) was significantly decreased in subjects with four lumbar vertebrae compared with those with normal spines (PI measured 38.5 in specimens with four lumbar vertebrae, and 46.7 and 47.1 in specimens with five and six lumbar vertebrae).[8] A PI critical value of 42 or lower was found to have a fourfold increase in the development of degenerative disc disease.[9] Surgical errors occur when magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine is reported without accompanying conventional radiographs or cervicothoracic MR localisers.[10] This error is most frequently observed in lumbosacral spine. Anatomical variations of the lumbosacral spine are a major risk factor.[11]

Two distinct clinical entities were described in literature in sacralisation of the fifth lumbar vertebra—(i) Bertolotti syndrome and (ii) degenerative spondylolisthesis. Bertolotti’s syndrome has been described as a group of clinical presentations as a consequence of sacralisation of the fifth lumbar vertebra. It has been considered a possible cause of low back pain.[12] The following changes had been described in literature: disk, spinal canal, and posterior element pathology at the level above a transition; degeneration of the anomalous articulation between an LSTV and the sacrum; facet joint arthrosis contralateral to a unilateral fused or articulating LSTV; extraforaminal stenosis secondary to the presence of a broadened transverse process.[10],[13],[14] The presence of LSTV was associated with an increased prevalence of low back pain (LBP).[15] The disc below the transitional vertebra was protected from degeneration among the middle-aged men, whereas the disc above the transitional vertebra showed signs of degeneration among the young asymptomatic men.[16]

The sacralisation of L5 is thought to cause stress concentration on L4-L5, which can accentuate development of degenerative spondylolisthesis and promote degenerative changes. The incidence of L5 sacralisation was higher (54/78 = 69%) in patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4-L5.[17] Abbas J et al.[18] found that among 95 individuals with spinal stenosis, 57.6% have sacralisation (unilateral and bilateral together) compared with 26.1% in the control group. Pseudoarticulation between the transverse process and the sacrum creates a “false joint” susceptible to arthritic changes and osteophyte formation potentially leading to nerve root entrapment.[19] Reports were published of double crush of L5 spinal nerve root due to L4-L5 lateral recess stenosis and bony spur formation of lumbosacral transitional vertebra pseudoarticulation.[20] There was a definite causal relationship between the transitional vertebra and the degeneration of the disc immediately cephalad to it.[21]


  Conclusion Top


With this review, we conclude that sacralisation of the fifth lumbar is not a radiological entity but a clinical entity.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Hayes D, Cadogan M, Cadogan DH, Bertolotti M. Life in the fast lane • LITFL. 2022. Available from: https://litfl.com/mario-bertolotti/ [Last accessed on 25 Nov 2022].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Castellvi AE, Goldstein LA, Chan DP. Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae and their relationship with lumbar extradural defects. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 1984;9:493-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Konin GP, Walz DM. Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae: Classification, imaging findings, and clinical relevance. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2010;31:1778-86.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Matson DM, Maccormick LM, Sembrano JN, Polly DW. Sacral dysmorphism and lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV) review. Int J Spine Surg 2020;14(Suppl 1):S14-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Khashoggi KG, Hafiz RM, Bock YM, Kaki AM. Determination of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae in kidney urinary bladder x-ray films in the Saudi population. Saudi Med J 2017;38:794–7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Uçar D, Uçar BY, Coşar Y, Emrem K, Gümüşsuyu G, Mutlu S, et al. Retrospective cohort study of the prevalence of lumbosacral transitional vertebra in a wide and well-represented population. Arthritis 2013;2013:461425.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Becker L, Ziegeler K, Diekhoff T, Palmowski Y, Pumberger M, Schömig F. Musculature adaption in patients with lumbosacral transitional vertebrae: A matched-pair analysis of 46 patients. Skeletal Radiol 2021;50:1697-704.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Abola MV, Teplensky JR, Cooperman DR, Bauer JM, Liu RW. Pelvic incidence in spines with 4 and 6 lumbar vertebrae. 2019. Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2192568219833029 [Last accessed on 25 Nov 2022].  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Zehra U, Cheung JPY, Bow C, Crawford RJ, Luk KDK, Lu W, et al. Spinopelvic alignment predicts disc calcification, displacement, and modic changes: Evidence of an evolutionary etiology for clinically-relevant spinal phenotypes. JOR Spine 2020;3:e1083.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Ravikanth R, Majumdar P. Bertolotti’s syndrome in low-backache population: Classification and imaging findings. Tzu-chi Med J2019;31:90-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Shah M, Halalmeh DR, Sandio A, Tubbs RS, Moisi MD. Anatomical variations that can lead to spine surgery at the wrong level: Part II thoracic spine. Cureus 2020;12:e8684.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Almeida DB, Mattei TA, Sória MG, Prandini MN, Leal AG, Milano JB, et al. Transitional lumbosacral vertebrae and low back pain: Diagnostic pitfalls and management of Bertolotti’s syndrome. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2009;67:268-72.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Quinlan JF, Duke D, Eustace S. Bertolotti’s syndrome. A cause of back pain in young people. J Bone Joint Surg Br 2006;88: 1183-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Jönsson B, Strömqvist B, Egund N. Anomalous lumbosacral articulations and low-back pain. Evaluation and treatment. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 1989;14:831-4.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Gopalan B, Yerramshetty JS. Lumbosacral transitional vertebra-related low back pain: Resolving the controversy. Asian Spine J 2018;12:407-15.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Ini PG, Wieser C, Zinn WM. The transinal vertebra of the lumbosacral spine: Its radiological classification, incidence, prevalence and clinical significance. Rheumatology 1977;16:180-5.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Kong CG, Park JS, Park JB. Sacralization of L5 in radiological studies of degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4-L5. Asian Spine J 2008;2:34-7.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Abbas J, Peled N, Hershkovitz I, Hamoud K. Is lumbosacral transitional vertebra associated with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis? Biomed Res Int 2019;2019:3871819.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Jancuska JM, Spivak JM, Bendo JA. A review of symptomatic lumbosacral transitional vertebrae: Bertolotti’s syndrome. Int J Spine Surg 2015;9:42.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Iwasaki M, Akiyama M, Koyanagi I, Niiya Y, Ihara T, Houkin K. Double crush of L5 spinal nerve root due to L4/5 lateral recess stenosis and bony spur formation of lumbosacral transitional vertebra pseudoarticulation: A case report and review. NMC Case Rep J 2017;4:121-5.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Sekharappa V, Amritanand R, Krishnan V, David KS. Symptomatic solitary osteochondroma of the subaxial cervical spine in a 52-year-old patient. Asian Spine J 2014;8:84-8.  Back to cited text no. 21
    


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