Posterior Branches of Lumbar Spinal Nerves - Part I: Anatomy and Functional Importance Katarzyna Kozera, Bogdan Ciszek Ortop Traumatol Rehabil 2016; 18(1):1-10 ICID: 1198827
Article type: Review article
IC™ Value: 2.40
Abstract provided by Publisher
The aim of this paper is to compare anatomic descriptions of posterior branches of the lumbar spinal nerves and, on this basis, present the location of these structures. The majority of anatomy textbooks do not describe these nerves in detail, which may be attributable to the fact that for many years they were regarded as structures of minor clinical importance. The state of knowledge on these nerves has changed within the last 30 years. Attention has been turned to their function and importance for both diagnostic practice and therapy of lower back pain.
Summarising the available literature, we may conclude that the medial and lateral branches separate at the junction of the facet joint and the distal upper edge of the transverse process; that the size, course and area supplied differ between the lateral and the medial branch; and that facet joints receive multisegmental innervation. It has been demonstrated that medial branches are smaller than the respective lateral branches and they have a more constant course. Medial branches supply the area from the midline to the facet joint line, while lateral branches innervate tissues lateral to the facet joint.
The literature indicates difficulties with determining specific anatomic landmarks relative to which the lateral branch and the distal medial branch can be precisely located.
Irritation of sensory fibres within posterior branches of the lumbar spinal nerves may be caused by pathology of facet joints, deformity of the spine or abnormalities due to overloading or injury. The anatomic location and course of posterior branches of spinal nerves should be borne in mind to prevent damaging them during low-invasive analgesic procedures.