The incidence of congenital lumbosacral malformations in young male Turkish military school candidates population

Published:August 12, 2021DOI:



      During routine radiological examinations of the lumbar spine, congenital anomalies such as lumbosacral transition vertebra and scoliosis are frequently encountered in asymptomatic patients. They are not always associated with pathologies but have the potential to cause back pain in later times. The aim of this study is to analyze the prevalence of lumbar vertebral abnormalities in a group of young military school candidates who had no prior complaints.


      We retrospectively evaluated the direct radiographs of asymptomatic young men aged between 17 and 22 applying between July 2018 and August 2018, for the routine check-up before becoming military school students. Exclusion criteria were prior history of low back pain for any reason, sciatica, neurogenic claudication, history of prior spinal surgery and history of a concomitant rheumatologic disease. All radiographs were evaluated for total lumbar vertebra number, morphology, presence of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV), spina bifida occulta (SBO) and presence of lumbar and/or lumbar-elongated scoliosis.


      All 3132 patients were male and mean age was 18.37. Out of them, 887 (28.3%) had a congenital lumbo-sacral anomaly that they were not aware of. The most common anomaly we detected was SBO, in 16.2% of the cases followed by LSTV with 12.9% of the cases. Some of the applicants had more than one anomaly in their X-rays.


      Correct identification of a lumbar abnormalities is of great importance, especially before surgical procedures. It is a known fact that most wrong-level spine surgery occurs in patients with variant spine anatomy, including LSTV. Meticulous screening and analyses should be performed to all patients scheduled for spinal surgery in order to avoid peri-operative complications and unwanted final results.
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