Morphometric characteristics of fibrocartilaginous tissue in the herniated intervertebral disc

Vol. 60 No. 2, 2019


Ahmed Abu-Awwad, Roxana Folescu, Daniel Laurentiu Pop, Andrei Gheorghe Marius Motoc, Dumitru Manuel Oprea, Mariana Tudoran, Carmen Lacramioara Zamfir, Cosmin Ioan Faur, Dinu Vermesan, Bogdan Nicolae Deleanu, Bogdan Corneliu Andor, Horia George Haragus

The purpose of this research was to identify a possible correlation between the morphometric characteristics of fibrocartilaginous tissue in the intervertebral herniated disc fragment and the clinical and imagistic characteristics of patients with back pain. Sixty-two samples were included in this study. Intervertebral herniated disc fragments obtained during surgery (microdiscectomy) were analyzed histologically and morphologically. The analyzed fragment tissues from herniated lumbar discs were from L3-L4, L4-L5 or L5-S1 levels. The average number of chondrons encountered in a visual field was 35 (ranging from 8 to 51). The minimum chondrons surface area - 493.4 pixels(2) [from 188 to 925 pixels(2)] and the average peak area of chondrons - 5250.9 pixels(2) ranging from 1171 to 11811 pixels(2)] and the median was 785.4 pixels(2) [values between 247.5 and 1621 pixels(2)]. With age control, a correlation between the average chondron area and the Pfirrmann classification (r=0.413; p=0.014) was found but the correlation coefficient was small. The results of this study demonstrate that there is a correlation between the area of the chondrons and the clinical and imagistic characteristics. The Japanese Orthopedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ) correlated with the chondrocyte area in the presence of a lumbar disc herniation with surgical indication. It should be taken into account that the variables considered only correspond to certain patients with degenerative lumbar discopathy.

Corresponding author: Roxana Folescu, Senior Lecturer, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Dinu Vermesan, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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