The Teaching Point

Calcific discitis is a rare cause of acute back pain in adults, more commonly seen in the pediatric population. It is important for the radiologist to be aware of adult calcific discitis in differential considerations as it may present similar to discitis/osteomyelitis or neoplastic disease. Adult calcific discitis is typically confined to the nucleus pulposus with herniation and calcification. CT demonstrates calcification within the intervertebral disc and MR aids in characterization of bone marrow edema of the vertebral bodies.






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From the manuscript

A Rare Cause of Acute Back Pain in a Young Adult: Case Report and Discussion of Calcific Discitis

Free full text article: A Rare Cause of Acute Back Pain in a Young Adult: Case Report and Discussion of Calcific Discitis

Abstract
Calcific discitis in the adult population is very rare, with fewer than 40 cases reported in the literature. Most cases thus far have involved patients presenting with mid to upper back pain of acute to subacute onset. As it is a condition that is self-resolving with rare exception, the true incidence is likely underestimated. Another factor contributing to the underestimation of individuals with back pain in general is that many patients will treat themselves before presenting for care. Back pain is one of the most common presenting symptoms to primary care physician offices and represents an economic burden of billions of dollars annually. The utilization of MRI imaging and other diagnostic work-up amount to an important component of this cost and one that could possibly be reduced with early radiological identification of this condition. We present a case in which an adult patient presented with subacute lumbar back pain, eventually diagnosed as calcific discitis.






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