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The purpose of the present cross-sectional study is to examine the degree of degenerative patho-anatomical changes in the thoracic vertebrae in asymptomatic adult patients.

Materials and Methods

A total of 150 adult patients were examined with computed tomography (CT) because of various health conditions (e.g., tumour risk). The images were revised with post-processing procedures to detect bony changes in the thoracic vertebrae. Three types of degenerations (osteophytes, arthrosis, and irregular endplates) were examined and graded using appropriate grading systems. Correlational investigations were carried out in relation to age, BMI, and degenerations. Moreover, to examine the value of the degenerations the frequencies of the grading categories were assessed in each segment.


The total number of the patients included was 41, who had no trunk symptoms. We found no convincing correlations in terms of age, BMI, and degenerations, however, age and facet joint arthrosis showed a tentative association. The degree of the degenerations was the largest in the Th7-8, Th8-9, Th9-10 segments for osteophytes, in the Th4-5, Th5-6 for arthrosis, and in the Th8-9, Th9-10 for irregular endplates.


This study found that there are several progressive degenerative changes in the thoracic spine without any clinical symptoms. Accordingly, it can be advised that clinicians should avoid labelling the disorders and planning their treatment based on the results of diagnostic imaging only.

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