The Spine team of Ganga Hospital won the coveted Eurospine research award in 2007 for their work on lumbar disc degeneration. The team was led by Dr S Rajasekaran and included Dr K. Venkatadass, Dr J. Naresh Babu, Dr K. Ganesh and Dr Ajoy P. Shetty. The topic of the research work was on "Pharmacological enhancement of disc diffusion and differentiation of healthy, ageing and degenerated discs - Results from in-vivo serial post-contrast MRI studies in 365 human lumbar discs".
Lumbar degenerative disc disease is the commonest cause of low back pain. The inter-vertebral disc gets its nutrition from the end plate by a process of diffusion. Decreased diffusion of nutrients leads to degeneration of the disc and hence End plate damage (EDP) plays a crucial role in degenerative disc disease (DDD). Biological treatment of DDD is underway, but may not succeed when diffusion is altered due to EPD. Quantification of EPD and its correlation to altered diffusion patterns and DDD has not been done in-vivo. A serial post-contrast MRI study was performed to identify various types of EPD in 73 adults and distinct patterns of diffusion that identify structural and functional changes in the disc which help to differentiate between healthy, aged and degenerated discs was identified and a scoring system was devised. This End plate score provides guidelines in planning the management of DDD. This information provides an objective method based on which degenerated discs can be identified and also to develop management strategies for the future.