University of Oulu

Elsi Autio, Petteri Oura, Jaro Karppinen, Markus Paananen, Jaakko Niinimäki, Juho-Antti Junno, Changes in vertebral dimensions in early adulthood – A 10-year follow-up MRI-study, Bone, Volume 121, 2019, Pages 196-203, ISSN 8756-3282,

Changes in vertebral dimensions in early adulthood : a 10-year follow-up MRI-study

Saved in:
Author: Autio, Elsi1,2,3; Oura, Petteri2,1,3; Karppinen, Jaro2,3,4;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
6Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-08-08


Previous studies have shown that vertebral height increases until the early twenties, but very few studies have been conducted on other vertebral dimensions. Growth in vertebral size is believed to take place in elderly age but not in early adulthood. In this study, we wanted to clarify the potential changes in the dimensions of the lumbar vertebrae during early adulthood. We used the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 as our study material, with a final sample size of 375 individuals. We performed lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) when the participants were 20 and 30 years of age (baseline and follow-up, respectively). We recorded the width, depth, height, and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4) using the MRI scans. We used generalized estimating equation (GEE) models to analyse the data. Men had 7.6%–26.5% larger vertebral dimensions than women at both baseline and follow-up. The GEE models demonstrated that all the studied dimensions increased during the follow-up period among both sexes (p < 0.001). Men had a higher growth rate in vertebral depth and CSA than women (p < 0.001). Among women, small vertebral width (p = 0.001), depth (p = 0.05) and height (p = 0.02) at baseline were associated with a higher vertebral growth rate during the follow-up than among those with large dimensions at baseline. Among men, small baseline width was associated with higher vertebral growth rate (p = 0.001). Our results clearly indicate that vertebral dimensions increase after 20 years of age among both sexes.

see all

Series: Bone
ISSN: 8756-3282
ISSN-E: 8756-3282
ISSN-L: 8756-3282
Volume: 121
Pages: 196 - 203
DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.08.008
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: EU QLG1-CT-2000-01643 (EUROBLCS) Grant no. E51560, NorFA Grant no. 731, 20056, 30167, USA/NIHH 2000 G DF682 Grant no. 50945.
Copyright information: © 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license