Dr. Johnbull Tamuno-Olobo* and Prof. Didia Blessing Chimeze


Background: The canal dimension is very important for determining the predisposition of an individual to spinal cord compression and entrapment. The Torg-Pavlov ratio is a dimensional proportion used as a universal indicator of cervical spine stenosis. Aim: To determine the reliability of the Torg’s ratio in a non-athletic asymptomatic Nigerian population. Metarials and methods: Radiographs of 60 (40 males, 20 females) asymptomatic adult volunteers aged 18-40 years were used for the study. The parameters measured were the anterior-posterior diameter of the spinal canal and the anterior-posterior diameter of the vertebral body. The Torg’s ratio was determined by dividing the AP canal diameter by the AP body diameter. The obtained values were statistically analyzed using a Student’s t-test, and a p value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Mean canal AP for males at C3=13.29±0.53, C4=13.32±0.27, C5=13.86±0.39, C6=13.85±0.38 and C7=13.72±0.43. Mean canal AP for females at C3=13.23±0.53, C4=13.38±0.41, C5=13.61±0.40, C6=13.72±0.42 and C7=13.96±0.46. The Torg’s ratio for males at C3=0.84, C4=0.84, C5=0.83, C6=0.80 and C7=0.78 while for females, at C3=0.90, C4=0.90, C5=0.88, C6=0.87 and C7=0.85. Conclusion: Using 12mm to determine stenosis seems more apt for this population than does the Torg’s ratio due to the parameters used in determining the ratio (the vertebral body) which is larger in males. The ratio seems to overestimate the presence of stenosis in non-athletic males. We hypothesize that strength exercise affecting the posterior elements that make up the spinal canal may have the ability to increase the size of the canal. This should be taken into consideration when determining stenosis in the general non-athletic population.

Keywords: Cervical spine, Torg’s ratio, stenosis, plain radiograph.

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