Demographical aspects of Schmorl nodes: A skeletal study

Gali Dar, Smadar Peleg, Youssef Masharawi, Nili Steinberg, Hila May, Israel Hershkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design. A descriptive study of the association between Schmorl nodes (SNs) and gender, ethnic origin, and age in a normal skeletal population. Objectives. To gain reliable data on behavioral patterns of SNs in various human groups shedding light on its etiology. Summary of Background Data. Opinions regarding SNs prevalence in human populations vary greatly (from 5% to 70%). This caveat greatly reduced our ability to recognize the etiology of the phenomenon and understand its clinical significance. Methods. Two hundred forty human skeleton vertebrae (T4-L5) from a normal adult population (divided by gender, ethnicity, and age) were examined for SNs. SNs were defined as depressions with sclerotic margins appearing on the vertebral body surface. Results. One hundred sixteen individuals (48.3%) of the 240 studied manifested SNs along their thoracolum-bar spine. SNs are age independent and gender and ethnicity dependent, are significantly more common in males (54.2%) versus females (43%) and more common in European-Americans (60.3%) versus African-Americans (36.7%). Conclusion. SNs are a common phenomenon in the normal adult populations with almost half of the individuals in our sample manifesting at least 1 vertebra with SN. Its demographic characteristics suggest that the phenomenon is not of occupational origin, promoting the nation of genetic background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E312-E315
Issue number9
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2009


  • Disc herniation
  • Spine pathology
  • intervertebral disc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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